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A I /The 

A quarterly, Governors State University, Park Forest South, IL 60466 

Vol. 5, No. 3, Winter, 1982 

A quarterly published at Governors State University under the auspices of the Provost's Office 

©Governors State University and Helen Hughes 

Helen E. Hughes Editor 
Lynn Thomas Strauss, Managing Editor 
Joan Lewis, Editorial Consultant 
Suzanne Oliver, Graphic Designer 
Beverly Beeton, Consultant Editor 

Donna Bandstra, Social Sciences 

Rev. Ellen Dohner, Religion 

Rita Durrant, League of American Penwomen 

Ann Gerhart, Women's Networking 

Harriet Gross, Sociology/Woman's Studies 

Helene Guttman, Biological Sciences 

Mimi Kaplan, Library Resources 

Young Kim, Communications Science 

Harriet Marcus Gross, Journalism 

Elizabeth Ohm, Library Resources 

Betye Saar, Fine Arts 

Marjorie Sharp, Human Relations Services 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory 

Emily Wasiolek, Literature 

Rev. Elmer Witt, Campus Ministries 

Table of contents 


covering The Stories of 
Oklahoma Women 

by Barbara Hillyer Davis 3 

Memories Of A Great Aunt 

by Lillian Clark Canzler 9 


interviewed & edited by Bonnie Krause 

The Weaver 

A Poem by Harriet Marcus Gross 

Black Women Of The West 1820-1920 
by Addie Harris 

Book Review 

by Courtney Ann Vaughn 

Indian Women 

excerpted from The Roads They 
MaderWomen in Illinois History 
by Adade Mitchell Wheeler 
with Marlene Stein Wortman 


New Books Of Interest 
Letters To The Editor 

Editor's Column 




Marriage in Early Utah: Pattern 
And Patchwork 

by Maureen Ursenbach Beecher 29 

Research Guide To Women In American 

by Lynn Thomas Strauss 36 


by Barbara Hi 1 Iyer Davis 

The first venture of a university 
class into local history and literature 
is made with the hope of significant 
discoveries, literature of high quality, 
new historical records. When I began 
such a venture with a group of Oklahoma 
students, we made no such dramatic 
discoveries; we were able to recover 
only fragments of information and 
documents of uncertain or poor literary 
quality. However, from these unimpres- 
sive materials we learned much about 
history and literature and the region-- 
not how to impress with our discoveries, 
but how to tell and listen to stories, 
how to read and write and think care- 
fully and well . 

My 1977-78 course at the University 
of Oklahoma produced research papers 
and public programs designed to share 
with people outside the classroom what 
we had learned about Oklahoma women. 
The products of the seminar are still 
available for research in the field 
or to satisfy a casual interest in 

the subject. The research papers were 
deposited in the Western History Col- 
lection of the University Library, and 
the photographic exhibit and three 
booklets (part of our public programming) 
are circulated by the Women's Studies 
Program. (1) 

These products of the year's work 
are "pieced" from fragments collected 
from old books and newspapers, inter- 
views and the reports of interviews. 
Our resources were seldom complete; 
none of them alone told us much either 
about women or about the region. Our 
real learning came instead from the 
effort to construct, from these frag- 
ments, a pattern that would at least 
suggest to others the richness of the 
fabric of women's culture from which 
they were torn. 

Even my own preparation was sketchy- 
having only learned in July that I 
would be teaching the course beginning 
in September. This lack of time had 
conspicuous effects on the materials 
with which we began our research. It 
necessitated a selection of textbooks 
assembled from a quick survey of in- 
print paperbacks on women's history, 
southern or western history, and women's 
writings and, an equally hasty accumu- 
lation of three manila folders full of 
miscellaneous newspaper clippings on 
Oklahoma women. Both the book selection 
process and the contents of the clipping 
files came to represent for me the 
enormous variety and the frustrating 
over-simplification of our resources 
on Oklahoma women . 

For textbooks we had many choices 
of literary and other works on southern 
or western experience, but only two 
were focused on Oklahoma. One of 
the two, Angie Debo's Prairie City , (2) 
was out of print and the other, Edna 
Ferber's Cimarron , (3) I chose not to 
use because of some criticism that 
I hadn't time to evaluate. 

Supposedly, Oklahomans considered 
Cimarron an inaccurate presentation 
of their state's past and complained 
that Ferber spent only a short time 
here to do research, and therefore 

failed to understand the character 
of our collective experience. With- 
out adequate time to evaluate this 
criticism, I didn't use the novel as 
a text. The story about its historical 
accuracy, however, became for me a 
useful example of the way we have failed 
to develop analytic tools for liter- 
ary forms like Ferber's which 
deliberately avoid being either 
regional history or "canonized" lit- 
erature. Cimarron is described as 
regional literature on one hand and 
criticized on the other as being 
inaccurate regional history. It 
can be described also as historical 
fiction, a genre often assumed to 
be inferior to both history and fic- 

But the women I know who have 
researched Oklahoma women's history 
and have some experience in Oklahoma 
politics think that Cimarron effec- 
tively presents a woman's quite mixed 
experience of Oklahoma as a place where 
ordinary lives and politics intersect. 
Ferber's brief research trip provid- 
ed her with a lot of anecdotal infor- 
mation about everyday life in 
frontier Oklahoma which she presented 
in fictional form. 

The story about Ferber's historical 
inaccuracy and her short research 
trip was so widely circulated (I 
heard it from librarians and history 
students as well as people who remem- 
bered its being mentioned in high 
school classes) that it suggests an 
oral tradition about the self-concept 
of Oklahomans. The negative judgment 
that clearly emerges includes an 
element of sexism ( Cimarron is about a 
woman and a weak man, about transplant- 
ing other cultures, including "feminine" 
cultures, on the masculine frontier) 
and a regional bias (Oklahoma culture 
is presented as extremely limited). 
There is an academic bias as well, 
a rigid departmental division between 
history and literature which assumes 
that either may and probably will con- 
taminate the other. It took a little 
more time and experience before we 
could abandon such distinctions. 

The files of newspaper clippings 
were crucial to the development of 
that experience. The miscellaneous 
entries in the "vertical files" of 
the Oklahoma Department of Libraries 
and the Oklahoma County Libraries 
were mostly lists of prominent women, 
with a few feature stories from women's 
pages and the Oklahoman's Sunday sup- 
plement, Orbit . 

These clippings suggested some 
subjects for research; historians and 
archivists we consulted suggested 
others. Both kinds of lists were 
developed almost at random. As the 
research projects developed, we found 
that the randomness and the kinds of 
information we were able to recover 
were both a result of the characteris- 
tic method by which the stories of 
Oklahoma women have been collected: 
an interview by a collector of stories, 
either "historical" or "journalistic." 
Moreover, there was a circular pattern 
in our pursuit of certain stories: the 
journalists (especially of the Sunday 
supplement stories) often did their 
research in the Western History Collec- 
tion—our primary archival resource, 
where the usual resource was a collec- 
tion of oral history interviews con- 
ducted in the 1930' s as a part of a 
WPA project, the Indian-Pioneer Papers. 
Both interviewers and researchers 
wanted to record the memories of people 
who settled Oklahoma less than a cen- 
tury ago. In neither case is the 
interviewing designed as oral historians 
of our day might design it, now that 
they have acquired a concept of them- 
selves as specialists. The result 
for women's history and literature 
is fortunate, because the interview 
subjects were not encouraged to focus 
on political or economic history, for 
example. Instead they were encouraged 
to remember ordinary episodes out of 
everyday life in those extraordinary 
times. But unfortunately, tantalizing 
hints about our grandmothers' lives are 
shut off by interviewers' lack of inter- 
est in those questions about women's 
culture which are the new province 
of Women's Studies. 

The process we went through was 
similar to that used a year before 
we began our work, by the women who 
produced the television series, 
Women's Place in Oklahoma. ( Epi sodes 
in this series became in turn, another 
of our basic resources.) They had 
collected information from a number of 
printed historic and literary sources 
on Oklahoma to use as a basis for 
interviewing Oklahoma women in the 
television programs. The background 
papers developed by scholars in the 
humanities (4) were used to formulate 
questions for the interviews. But 
the real interviews developed as stories 
the subject wanted to tell the inter- 
viewer, and those stories are in fact 
the memorable parts of the series. 
The blending of two forms, historical 
perspective and personal memoir is 
most vivid in the opening interviews 
of "Pioneering Women" in which Phoebe 
McClung and Angie Debo remember their 
pioneer childhood. Angie Debo is an 
historian and a professional writer 
who had already selected her stories 
for dramatic impact and relationship 
to historical events—drought and 
recession for example. She tells of 
the year people in Stillwater had 
turnips in their Christmas stockings 
and illustrates "prairie madness" 
with the woman who wanted to serve 
guests a "chicken" at a time when 
no one had much food; the chicken was 
her baby. McClung, who doesn't have 
Debo's historical perspective, is 
preoccupied with her present situation- 
she is being moved out of her family home 
because of a highway construction 
project. The most affecting revelation 
of her pioneer past is not a directly 
presented memory but a comment on the 
relationship between the present crisis 
and a memory of her past: the trees 
surrounding her old home are too big 
to move. Leaving them is painful; 
to survive on the prairie, they had 
to be lovingly tended, watered by 
bucketsful carried long distances. 
Now she is planting new trees and 
hopes to live until they give shade. 
This program combines the character- 
istics of many of our resource materials. 

Both stories are told by artic- 
ulate women who remember the past, 
though one analyzes the experience 
and supplements it from other sources, 
while the other merely lives it. 
The stories represent an oral trad- 
ition, the handing down of memories 
from the hard times of the past. The 
filmed interviews themselves are 
another tradition, the interview of 
old people because they are old. 

The surest way for a woman to be 
chosen as subject for an interview 
is to live to be eighty or over, or in 
some way be a "star" --the first woman 
to do something or an exceptional 
leader in a field. Angie Debo is both: 
a notable historian of her own region 
who also lived through its dramatic 
"founding" period to become an old 
woman. But Phoebe McClung is in many 
ways a more typical subject. Again and 
again we read feature stories and oral 
history transcriptions of interviews 
with quite ordinary women and men who 
remember at 85 and 90 what everyday 
life was like in their childhood. In 
Oklahoma many of these stories are 
dramatic (the cow fell through the 
dugout roof, (5) the baby played 
peek-a-boo with a rattlesnake (6) ). 
From our perspective as women inter- 
ested in women's emotional as well as 
physical survival, some are especially 
poignant. Nora Watson Cox tells of 
how her mother hid lilac cuttings in 
the wagon for the trip to the Lawton 
area; her father repeatedly threw 
them out and Mother repeatedly sneaked 
them back in. When they finally reached 
Lawton and Father "removed that long 
string of stove pipe from the side, 
out fell the beloved shrubs. Even now 
the lilacs bloom in the springtime in 
the front yard of the old homestead. "(7) 
We are, after all, very close to the 
frontier, and we expect our oldest 
citizens to remember the land run or 
the water wagon or the first automo- 
bile, to tell us the story that explains 
the lilacs in the front yard of the 
old homestead. 

Some of the stories tell us how 
the eighty-eight-year old woman lives 
today, and what her house is like, or 
about her community activities(8)--not 
especially interesting as "pioneer" 
information. But when their mothers 
kept house in tents or dugouts, their 
experiences were commonplace, just 
as the daughter's apartment or suburban 
garden is commonplace today. In the 
1930s when the interviews for the 
Indian-Pioneer Papers were collected, 
the "old people" interviewed were 
ordinary people who were subjects of 
the project simply because they could 
remember what ordinary people did in 
the extraordinary years surrounding 
the "runs." (9) So my students began 
to see that their own ordinary lives 
might one day be the subject of 

The \/ery fact that women's history 
has been so often ignored, misclassi- 
fied, or misinterpreted proceeds direct- 
ly from the fact that their lives 
were defined as "private" and usually 
"unimportant," characteristics of 
students' lives as well. As the 
student gains respect for the validity 
of her reasearch materials, she gains 
self-respect as well and a much more 
finely-tuned awareness of the relation- 
ship between present and past. This 
is "relevance" far from superficial 
or sentimental, because the historian's 
method (when it is not male-biased) 
provides the intellectual framework 
for testing stereotypes against reality, 
while the methods of literary criticism 
sharpen our awareness of style and tone. 

Angie Debo's example was particu- 
larly useful to us here. Her memory 
of an Oklahoma that we can experience 
only vicariously enriches for us that 
past and our present, because it is 
presented in two ways at once: as some- 
thing she and others she knows have 
experienced pragmatically, day to day, 
and'as information susceptible to 
analysis and categorization. She does 
not treat these two ways of perceiving 
the past as mutually exclusive. Ex- 
plaining the effectiveness of Edward 
Everett Dale's teaching, she said that 
"his life and work were all of a 

piece." (10) It is an ideal which she 
treasures and wishes to achieve. 
Committed to the idea that physical 
geography affects the inhabitants 
of a place, she clearly sets historical 
events in their regional context. The 
integration of ordinary lives and pol- 
itical history was eventually expres- 
sed in a new form in Debo's Prairie 
City, The Story of an American Com- 
munity , a work which is* both fiction 
and history, literature and investi- 
gative reporting—and judged as all of 
these or none by critics who were 
confused by the blend. (11) The book 
is the story of a town like Marshall, 
Oklahoma, Debo's home town, in the 
context of early twentieth century 
national and regional history. Debo 
builds our understanding of the town 
on the organized presentation of cum- 
ulative detail from ordinary lives, 
as well as the political context of 
these lives. The fictional treatment 
enables her to develop coherent char- 
acters out of the fragmentary stories 
of many ordinary individuals. In this, 
it is like Cimarron , a work which 
combines images and commonplace act- 
ivites to recreate the atmosphere of 
a particular past place and time. 

That Prairie City and Cimarron 
(two works which fictionalize history 
and then have been criticized for being 
less than perfectly accurate as history) 
were our best resources, helps to 
explain one of the strengths of our 
seminar. We didn't have enough purely 
historic or purely literary resources 
to permit easy distinctions between 
the two. 

The economic and demographic 
studies which will eventually support 
traditional courses on the history of 
women in the West, have just begun. 
On the other hand, I could not have 
taught a traditional literature course 
on women writers in Oklahoma, not 
because there are none (there are 
plenty) but because the known women's 
writings, besides being out of print, 
are mostly in forms considered some- 
how less than "literary" (diaries, 
letters, interviews), of poor quality 
(local poets, private writings), of 

only minor and local importance 
(locally printed books and especially 
feature stories from the media). We 
had therefore, to begin at a simpler 
level : to use the methods of both 
history and literature as we tried to 
discover everything that could be 
learned from available spoken and 
written materials. Above all, we tried 
to listen to the individual voices. 

The result was an appreciation 
not only of those individual voices 
but also of our own. This realization 
very plainly came from the "popular" 
nature of much of the material, 
especially the interviews by 
journalists and others. When we 
asked questions about historical con- 
text, characterization, the personal- 
ity of the interviewer and about the 
nature of the implied audience, we 
were able to classify the research 
data and information from our own 
lives as Oklahoma women in the same 

Again, the "Pioneering Women" 
program from Women's Place in 
Oklahoma was a model for our integra- 
tion of research materials and our 
own experience. In that broadcast, 
Angie Debo's ability as an historian 
to generalize and place the individu- 
al experience within the context of 
others like it enriches our under- 
standing of Phoebe McClung's exper- 
ience. But the producers of the tele- 
vision broadcast take another step 
and add interviews with other kinds 
of pioneering women: Ada Sipuel 
Fisher, the black woman who integrated 
the University of Oklahoma law school, 
and Jerrie Cobb, Oklahoma City aviator. 
These exceptional women are linked 
by the placement of their interviews 
with the ordinary lives of such pioneers 
as McClung's and Debo's mothers. 

When we considered the importance 
to newspaper and television audiences 
of the ordinary older woman's recol- 
lection of her mother's kitchen and 
field work, and of its relationship 
to the more unusual work of "exceptional" 
women, it occurred to us that our own, 

younger memories will one day be 
appropriate for such interviews. They 
too are related to the exceptional 
women's lives and to "historical" 
events. We began, therefore, to place 
our own everyday experiences alongside 
those we were finding in feature 
stories and tape transcriptions. 
We evolved our own "features" which 
eventually became booklets, exhibits, 
papers for the archives. Instead of 
being a private matter between teacher 
and student which ended in a grade, 
the student research became something 
to be shared with others: other stu- 
dents, the family of the research 
subject, participants in conferences 
and even, coming full circle from our 
beginnings, the readers of the Sunday 
women's pages. 

In all cases, we developed new 
blends of individual experience and 
documentable research. In the public 
presentations, we sought new forms and 
found ourselves not only classifying, 
generalizing, synthesizing but also 
eliminating some details and stressing 
others—doing, in fact, what the 
interviewers we studied had done. 
We collected the stories of Oklahoma 
women (becoming interviewers ourselves 
in the process), organized them, and 
gave back as many as we could. We 
returned them to a public which may 
use them as a beginning for further 
research; if they do, no doubt they 
will be frustrated by what we have not 
done or said. We are continually 
rearranging the collection of 
historical scraps, adding to it, 
and putting some scraps back in the 
bag--piecing a quilt in the form 
of our photographic exhibit, our papers, 
our booklets. There are always 
rich scraps left to be worked with. 


1. Oklahoma Women, A Collection of 
Research Papers, Norman : 
University of Oklahoma Women's 
Studies Program, 1978. 
The collection includes papers on 
Indian women of the Western Plains 
tribes by Andrea Weiss, Jan 


Painter-Somermeyer and Debra 
Parker; on Perle Mesta by Janet 
Noever; on Suffrage by Gayle 
Barrett; on Angie Debo by Jane 
Taylor; on Beulah Trammel by 
Linda Posada; and on settlers 
and military families by Barbara 

The photographic exhibit, Buffalo 
Chips to Senate Seats, Women at 
Work in Oklahoma , is published 
by Oklahoma Women's Studies Program. 

Oklahoma Women Re-membering , 
Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Women's Studies Program is a 
collection of student comments 
on the group process. 

Jane Taylor and Cyntheia 
Zimmerman, The Uncommon Latitude: 
Defining Place and Potential , 
Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Women's Studies Program, deals 
with one of the seminar's emphases, 
sense of place. 

Angie Debo, Prairie City, the Story of 
of an American Community , N.Y., 
A. A. Knopf, 1944. 




Index of first 12 volumes of the 
Indian-Pioneer Papers available 
in University of Oklahoma Western 
History Collection. The 
Indian-Pioneer Papers are in 
Western History Collection and 
Oklahoma Historical Society. 

Angie Debo, "the teacher," in 
Frontier Historian , Arrel M. 
Gibson, ed., Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1975, p. 21. 

The critical response is summarized 
by Jane Taylor, "Angie Debo: An 
Artery to Our Past," in Oklahoma 
Women: A Collection Of Researcn 
Papers , pp. 86-87. 

3. Edna Ferber, Cimarron . Greenwich, 
Conn., Fawcett, 1958. 

4. The series was funded in part by 
the Oklahoma Humanities Committee 
and the National Endowment for the 
Humanities. Video tapes are available 

5. "Women's World: Farewell to a 
Calico Legend", loc. cit. 

6. Wayne Morgan & Anne Hodges Morgan, 
Oklahoma: A Bicentennial History , N.Y. 
W.W. Norton & Co., 1977. 

7. Nora Watson Cox, 'Neath August Sun , 
Lawton Business and Professional 
Women's Club, 1934, p. 126. 

8. See, for example, "Irrepressible 
Grandma," in The Oklahomans, 
Sunday Magazine of The Sunday 
Oklahoman , November 12, 1978, 
based on interview of Viola 



by Lillian Clark Canzler 

When I look back on my formative years, 
one person stands out as a real influ- 
ence on my thinking, on my humor devel- 
opment, and perhaps on my attitudes 
toward feminism. She was my great 
aunt on my father's side. Her maiden 
name was Caroline Starr. She married 
and became Caroline Atnip around 1880. 

One of my earliest memories of Aunt 
Caroline is of the woman with two hus- 
bands. She came out West right after 
she and her best woman friend had 
each married. The two couples left 
Kansas to start new lives with their 
new husbands. They had a rough cross- 
ing of the plains, and her friend died 
asking Caroline to promise always to 
look after her husband. Thus Aunt 
Caroline was always accompanied by 
Uncle Maird and Mr. Bisbee. Mr. Bisbee 
didn't live with Aunt Caroline and 
Uncle Maird. He lived across the alley, 
but he never missed a meal at Caroline's 
house. Apparently it never occurred 
to him to release her from that promise. 
Then again, it probably never occurred 
to her to release herself either. 

This tough trio settled in Twin 
Falls, Idaho when there was nothing 
there but dust and mud. They saved 
all of their money and worked hard to 
claim land under the homesteading act. 
They owned land in the new township and 
other land in the desert that surrounds 
the Snake River. Mr. Bisbee took pic- 
tures of the land and of the waterfalls 
that thundered just below the townsite. 

Aunt Caroline and Uncle Maird built 
a wooden house on their new town lot, 
claiming enough land for another house 
for Mr. Bisbee and for gardens for the 
three to share. 

Uncle Maird on left and Aunt Caroline on right. 

I don't recall Aunt Caroline talking 
about feminism. But she did dress like 
a modern-day feminist—coveralls and a 
flannel shirt, men's shoes and men's 
hats. This was her work uniform. She 
was such a hard worker that my mother 
often commented on her being able to 
work circles around everyone. She worked 
so hard and was always so pleasant that 
it never occurred to us children that 
she was really getting old. 

The depression days had a dramatic 
effect on her life and on her attitudes 
toward living. Before the depression 
hit, she and Uncle Maird had quite a 
bit of money saved in the bank. When 
the banks failed and all of their hard- 
earned money was gone, Aunt Caroline 
went screaming to the bank demanding 
that the money be returned. When the 
banks couldn't help her, she went to 
her lawyer. When it was clear that 
the lawyer wouldn't take her case, she 
went to her minister. Her minister 
said that she was possessed by the devil, 
and threw her out of the church. Her 
doctor couldn't help her. She was 
temporarily lost and unbalanced. Then 
she swore off bankers, lawyers, ministers, 
and doctors. She didn't buy downtown. 
She would make it on her own! 

On her small lots she raised chick- 
ens and rabbits, and never wasted any 
parts of the animal. Quite often we 
were given the feet of a chicken as a 
toy. She took a hold of the lower 
leg and made each foot dance like a 

She slaughtered and dressed all of 
her own animals, and one of my strangest 
memories is of Aunt Caroline cleaning 
the chickens. (My God, I can still 
smell those hot, wet feathers!) As 
she cleaned the chickens, she would 
pop the eyeballs into her mouth. She 
made blood puddings and blood sausages 
from the animals that were slaughtered, 
saving what most people would have 
wasted. From her chickens and rabbits 
she got meat, fat and fur. At Christ- 
mas Aunt Caroline would bake all kinds 
of German pastries and breads using the 
saved animal fats. At all times you 
could find a very special cookie in 
her cookie jar. This was a sugar 
cookie that had a cinnamon candy in 
the middle. Mr. Bis bee brought her the 
cinnamon candies. 

I used to wonder, as a child, about 
Aunt Caroline's gardens. She had two, 
side-by-side that covered a full city 
plot. One was a vegetable garden and 
one was a flower garden. I was always 
curious about why she wasted so much 
space on flowers, when food was so 
scarce. Now that I am older, I under- 
stand about having some beauty, too. 
She was especially proud of her gigantic 
zinnias and gladioli. Of course they 
grew well because of all that rabbit 
and chicken manure. 

She also raised a huge field of 
strawberries on her desert land, and 
planted every plant herself. Mr. 
Bisbee drove her to and from her field 
which bordered the Snake River canyon. 

From her berry money she bought flour 
at the mill. Flour was packed in cloth 
bags. From these bags she made her 
Sunday dresses and aprons. She did all 
of her sewing by hand. Her dresses 
were always full-length as were her 
aprons. The only exceptions were 

dresses given to her as a Christmas or 
birthday gift, often made on my mother's 
new Singer. 

My Aunt Caroline was full of fun 
and laughter. We children always begged 
to take her with us camping. She was 
good at fishing, too. When she fished 
she explained her luck with all kinds 
of sayings, such as, "When the wind 
blows south, the fish has a sore mouth." 
She caught a lot of fish. I never caught 
any. She said it was because I didn't 
hold my mouth right. 

My most vivid memory of Aunt Caroline 
is of her hands. They were tough and 
gnarled from all of that work. They 
were not like other women's hands. 
They were like my father's hands. The 
knuckles were very large. The nails 
were broad and flat. In the winter 
she would keep the stove going with 
chunks of coal in the living room 
burner and chunks of wood in the Mon- 
arch range. When she had to remove 
the cinders from the stove she would 
reach in with her bare hands, quickly 
snatching the unwanted piece from the 
fire and depositing it in the coal 
bucket. It always amazed me that she 
never burned her hands. When I think 
of Aunt Caroline's house, I think of 
that stove with Uncle Maird snoozing 
on one side and Mr. Bisbee on the other, 
and Aunt Caroline in the middle stoking 
the fire. 

During the cold Idaho winters she 
kept her hands busy on a big quilting 
frame that took up most of the living room 
area. She made beautiful quilts of 
leftover scraps of material. Each of 
us had one made from the material 
scraps from the dresses made by my 
mother. She also saved wool scraps, 
and made heavy woolen quilts. They 
were so heavy they cut off your 
circulation if you slept under them. 
We used them for camping. We put 
down papers on the ground, then the 
woolen quilt. The quilts acted as a 
mattress and kept the cold from the 
ground from coming through. 

Although she didn't demand much from 
her men, she did have some feminist 


ways. For example, she would always 
introduce men and women as follows: 
"This is Laura and her man; This is 
Clara and her man." But I can't 
remember seeing my Aunt angry. She 
swore once in a while when she dropped 
a loaf of bread or an egg. She always 
swore in German, the language that 
was forbidden in front of children. 
She thought that it was funny when we 
English-speaking children began to 
swear in German. All the German 
that I know today I got from my Aunt 

One of my fondest memories of 
Aunt Caroline is of her bathroom. 
She didn't buy toilet paper. In those 
days each piece of fruit from California 
came packed with a piece of tissue 
paper which said "Sunkist" in indel- 
ible ink. She gathered the thrown- 
out Sunkist papers from the grocery 
stores and kept a large box in the 
bathroom. I loved the smell of the 
lemon papers, and never missed a chance 
to go into her bathroom. She laughed 
about all of our fannies being special -- 
always Sunkist. 

She never went to church. Sworn off 
was sworn off. However, it seemed 
that she had her own personal religion. 
She said grace at every meal, a prayer 
about how thankful she was for the 
good life that had been given to her. 
She lived to be 99 years of age and 
was always in good health. Uncle 
Maird lived to be 90 and Mr. Bisbee* 
96. She upheld her promise to the 

Was she a feminist? I don't really 
know and it doesn't really matter, 
but I look back on our relationship 
fondly and believe that she was a 
driving force in my life and provided 
a model of independent thinking. 

* M/l. Bisbee u)cu> a psiofizAAtonat 
pkotogtiapheA. HiM ptcduAe. ofi 
oxuity Twtn Fatti> can be 4een Xn 
bankl and othoK pubLLc buuZcLtngA 
in tkcut ojiqjol. 



interviewed and edited by 
Bonnie Krause 

Gazing south from Bald Knob, the 
highest point in Union County, Illinois 
along the Ozark Ridge as it winds 
down into Kentucky, a double-backed 
deep blue hill rises in the distance: 
Atwood Mountain. And as one stands 
on a foggy morning above the blue 
mist drifting in the hollows and 
catching along the wooded slopes, the 
sound of creaking wagon wheels and 
plodding hooves seems to echo from 
the past. 

"I was born a hundred years too 
late." Clara Powles Farmer, 77 years 
old, laments. "I wish I'd lived back 
then. I'd a loved to live in them 
wigwams and those old log houses. 
Why, I wouldn't had a worry in the 

Clara is a descendant of a long 
line of early Southern Illinois settlers 
and was raised at the foot of Atwood 
Mountain. The words of this article, 
for the most part, are her own, as 
recorded and edited by this author. 

My father was Scotch Irish and a 
pilot on a government steamboat. 
Grandfather Brown was a general in 
the Civil War. But on the wrong side. 
Rebels. And General Brown owned two 
hundred slaves when Abraham Lincoln 
set them free and it broke him up. 
Grandmother's people came from Scot- 
land and settled in Tennessee and were 
very wealthy. Grandmother got married 
in Kentucky and they ordered her 
clothes from England. Her saddle 
(they rode sidesaddle) had an ivory 
horn and her stick was ivory. She 
said 'My husband didn't have to 
furnish me anything. I had my trunk, 
trousseau, full of lindsey and linen 
and everything, enough for five years 
of clothing. ' 

Grandmother told me when the Yankees 
came through there they just destroyed 

everything they had. She lost seven 
brothers in the Civil War. The last 
one went AWOL and tried to come in, 
tried to come back to mother and three 
sisters, and they shot him and nailed 
him to a tree. And they wouldn't let 
the sisters go get him for days. Then 
they went and took him down and wrapped 
him in a sheet and dug a hole and 
buried him. She said they had big 
feather beds and Yankees ripped 'em open 
Turned a barrel of molasses over. 
Cruelty in Civil War. There was a lot 
of that done. 

My mother was three-quarter Cherokee. 
She was the one who inherited down 
through the generations that old place 
out there. And everything down there 
was homesteaded. Her name was Amanda 
Tennessee. Now the word Amanda means 
white flower in Indian. 


Prairie Woman, from "A History of Prairie Women. 


She was a marksman 
stop. My father would 
place down there over 
lands in Missouri and 
Arkansas and hunt abou 
she used to go with hi 
to say they killed the 
eat. And she used to 
an old gobbler stick h 
a tree and she could s 
out. Oh, she was a ma 

that wouldn't 

go from our home 
in the sunk 
some places in 
t six weeks . And 
m and he used 
ir meat that they 
say she'd see 
is head around 
hoot his eyes 

I got her eye... my dad would take 
us huntin'. Carry that old sack on 
my back. One time had a possum in 
there, it went walkin' up my back 
and I let it outa the sack and it 
got away. We hunted. 

Sometimes we'd get way off, we'd 
get close to an old time apple tree 
and you'd get down in the leaves and it'd 
be cold weather and you'd get an apple 
and wipe it off. Or we'd find an ear 
a corn and when we stopped to rest and 
listen to the dogs, we'd parch that 
old corn in that fire. And we'd eat 
that parched corn. I'm an old timer. 

Time went on and I moved away 
from the home place and settled over 
in a German settlement about three 
miles away. My children went through 
high school. All them years I hunted, 
I worked at the shoe factory and I 
always craved this big mountain, 
Atwood Mountain. A wealthy lady from 
Chicago came there and bought it, 
just come out there in the summer and 
go back to the city in the winter. 
But at the time she bought it I was 
livin' right down below in the home 
place and I would work for her; it was 
during the depression and them five 
dollar bills was somethin'. But I 
hunted. She died and I wrote her 
daughter and asked her if I could 
rent that place out there. She said 
yes. I went ahead and worked years 
at the shoe factory. Later I quit. 
And I hunted ginseng and roots and 
squirrels, hunted in there and I 
lived there twenty-three years. 

Thirty-five years ago I was down 
below the place huntin' and I shot 

a squirrel across the ravine and I 
could tell by the way it fell it 
wasn't dead. Any hunter knew that. 
So I walked slowly down and went 
over there and there was a tree 
lyin' across that had blown over 
and the roots were holdin' it up 
there and then it went on the ground. 
And I could see that little squirrel 
tail there and I reached under there, 
just gonna get him and I thought I'd 
tap him like that, not shoot it again, 
you don't do that. Oh. . .somethin' 
hit me there and I thought, there's 
a wasp nest there. I looked and I 
couldn't see any nest (sometimes wasps 
build under there) and I looked and 
there were two spots of blood. You 
can still see them places on my hand. 
I knew it was a snake bite. 

At first I could see that snake 
and I run my gun barrel under there 
right quick, I didn't take the time 
to look for something else. And out 
he come and he was about thirty inches 
long, that old copperhead, he was 
gettin' right after me. I backed off 
and shot him. And then I took and 
put my little knife and put it in 
one of them places (they're crooked 
you know) and put it down and jerked 
it like that, split it. And I sweated 
a little while and I put it down and 
jerked it in the other one. I put 
my tourniquet on. 

I have dentures; I pulled them out 
and put them in my jeans pocket and 
as I started for the house I sucked the 
blood out, sucked it all the way to the 

When I got there I told my husband, 
I said, "Bob, turn the car around, 
I'm snake bit." Well, he began to get 
frightened and was half cryin'. I said 
"Turn it around." We got down to the 
neighbor's place right at the foot of 
the hill. The man was out there, and 

I said, "Call 
snake bit and 

my son, tell him I 'm 
to meet us in town." 

Oh, you never saw such a hand, it 
kept me in the hospital eight days. 
Oh, I promised I'd quit huntin', 


I wouldn't hunt anymore. Finally it 
got all right. 

And one time I was over in one of 
those big hollows and I could smell a 
skunk so plain. And I thought, something 
has bothered him around here. I kept 
slipping up this little ravine and all 
at once a big hawk as big as I ever seen, 
lit on a dead big limb, just good 
shooting distance. So I just up and 
dropped him. Well, that thing spread out 
his wings and come down. And I still 
smelled that skunk. And I thought, 
that's the biggest wing spread on a 
hawk I ever seen. So I go up to this 
hawk and I pick him up. I hold him 
up like this and oh... that hawk had a 
hold of that skunk. Oh. ..sick. I 
got that stuff all over my hands and 
I commences getting sick. I had to 
go on home. I pulled all my clothes 
off in the little shed and went into 
the house nude because I couldn't take 
those things inside. 

I've called turkeys, call 'em with 
my mouth. If that old gobbler hollers, 
I can bring him right to me; many a 
time I've called 'em. I've called 
quails right up too. Old red squirrels 
too, especially a male squirrel, he'd 
get right around on the side where 
you're at. 

But I lived at Atwood Mountain 
twenty-three years and I hunted every 
year before I moved away. There's 
twenty- five shells in a box and I've 
killed twenty-three squirrels many a 
time, out of twenty-five. I killed 
263 squirrels and I dug $285 worth of 
ginseng and roots. I know every 
root there is that sells. Ginseng, 
golden seal , Little Bethlehem Star, 
Black root. 

Now on my home place there's just 
a mound where it once stood. The 
government owns it. They tore our big 
farmhouse down. Oh, it was a beauti- 
ful place. Atwood Mountain, now that's 
my heart. 

I'm a poetry fiend. There was the 
Dutch Creek Valley poet, he's been 
dead about twenty-five years. He 

picked a mandolin and I do too. And 
he made up poems about everything and 
everybody. I knew him back in my 
young days. We played in a string 
band. I believe I'm the only one 

We went around to parties and played 
We'd play like "Someone's rockin' my 
sugar lump, Sugar lump a lassies too." 
We'd square dance and I used to call 
once in awhile. Played in that band 
for twenty years. 

I've had three of my poems accepted 
for music, for songs, but you don't 
realize what it costs, I never had 
the money. 

Did you ever have any kind of ex- 
perience? Now God give me something, 
I know he had to give it to me. When 
I write them, these poems, they stay 
with me. This writing comes and if 
I go right then to write it'll just 
pour out. But if I fool around half 
a day it gets away. 

Now I'm a great fisherman, I've 
fished since I was as big as that. 
Here's my fishin' prayer: 

Lord grant me this one last wish 
In my sunset years just let me fish. 
Though I may not get one everytime 
With failing strength I cast my line. 

But just let me sit there in the sun 
And watch my cork, to me, that's fun. 
Lord, grant me this one last wish 
Health and strength to sit and fish. 

Now I don't ask for silver and gold 
Fame and power this old world holds 
But please give me this one last wish 
Just health and strength so I can fish. 

And when I'm in your landing net 
Ready for that last long sleep 
Lord, I hope you find me 
Good enough to keep. 




My thread spins out in all directions, 
Stretches to the sky and the white-tailed comets, 
Digs into the ground and the segmented earthworms, 
Plays across the ocean and its rainbow-finned fishes; 

My spool unwinds in old directions, 

Climbing in the mountains where the rivers have beginnings, 
Spanning to the deltas where the fresh meet salty endings, 
Tautened through the flatlands with the wheat and corn growing, 
Slackened on the desert sands with dry winds sighing; 

My reel is cast in new directions, 
Corded in confinement with my ancient mothers, 
Strung into the gravesides of my long-dead fathers, 
Thrust into the bodies of my living brothers, 
Tangled with the hearts of my heartsick sisters 

weaving long lonely days from wool of their own. 

My bobbin sends a strand deep down inside me, 
Twisted like a skein of unwound worsted, 
Shuttling its way through the warp of ideas, 
Patterning a weft of confusion and conclusions, 
Pulling all the ends from air and earth and water 
together in a pattern of irregular beauty. 

Many plies are blended in a hank of yarn. 
A thousand will be mended before I'm gone. 

Harriet P. (Marcus) Gross 



by Addie Harris 

"...Nobody ever help me into 
carriages or over mud puddles, 
or give me any best place. 
And ain't I a woman?" 

"I have plowed and planted 
and gathered into barns, and 
no man could head me. 
And ain't I a woman?" 

"I have born'd five children 
and seen them most all sold 
off into slavery and when I 
cried out with mother's grief, 
no one but Jesus hear. 
And, ain't I a woman?" 

-Sojourner Truth 

Sojourner Truth, artist • Paul Collins 
from "Great Beautiful Black Women." 

Surprisingly enough, the real 
West wasn't populated only with white 
cowboys, Indian fighters, or the 
white Calamity Jane as portrayed by 
most Hollywood movies. Research of 
western literature reveals a great 
deal of information about the roles 
of white ranchers, settlers, mountain 
men, soldiers, white women and white 
female suffragists as well as Black 
cowboys, Black founders of towns, 
and even Black western military men. 
The experience of these groups in 
the settlement of the American West 
has received considerable attention 
from scholars in the last decade, but 
little of this literature addresses 
or deals with the Black woman. Wasn't 
she there too? 

The Black women who came West 
faced the same trials and hard labor 
as white women, assuming male respon- 
sibilities and undertaking work 
that society had defined as men's 
work: pitching tents, driving, loading 
and unloading wagons and roping stray 
cattle on horseback. In addition, 

Black women also contended with racism, 
slavery and social discrimination.(l ) 

During this period of westward 
movement, white America regarded Black 
people as inferior, classless and 
sexless. This lack of distinction be- 
tween the Black sexes existed in every 
occupation and even extended to flogging 
and lynchings. Black women were not 
spared, although they were less vulner- 
able to mob violence than were their 
men. (2.) 

Black women who were employed as 
general housekeepers had to cook, wash, 
keep house, or care for children, work- 
ing from sunup to sundown. Black women 
were much more likely to be confined 
to domestic service for years, continuing 
in it after marriage and motherhood. The 
Black women never seemed to escape 
having to prostitute her femininity 
and her sex through domestic service in 
white people's homes, shops, restaurants, 
office buildings and elsewhere. They 
were not respected for these things, 
but were demeaned by them. (3) 


"The concentration of Black 
women in domestic service con- 
trasted sharply with the occupa- 
tional opportunities of white 
women throughout the West. The 
trend among white women was 
clearly away from domestic ser- 
vice into professions and re- 
tail sales and office work. 
Black women, on the other hand, 
remained a tiny fraction of 
white collar employees, while 
composing an increasing minority 
of domestic workers. That 
servant, laundress, dressmaker, 
and midwife were four of the 
leading occupations of western 
black women indicated both the 
low status and pay of their 
work, and its increasing 
obsolescence. "(4) 

Racial discrimination and the lack 
of educational skills generally limited 
the employment opportunities of Blacks 
in the West. Several western states and 
territories closed off educational 
opportunities for Blacks. While in 
other states laws passed in the 1850' s 
and 1860's barred the admission of 
Blacks to white public schools and made 
little provision for separate ones. 

The social restrictions of Jim 
Crow and Jane Crow that humiliated 
Black women and men have been well 
documented: On stagecoaches in Kansas 
and Colorado and streetcars in San 
Francisco, Black women were either 
denied public transit or forcibly 
ejected and left to fend for them- 
selves . 

"In 1861, Mary Randolph found 
herself evicted from a Denver- 
bound stagecoach because she 
was Black. She spent the 
night on the Kansas plains 
snapping her umbrella open 
and shut to scare off coyotes. "(5) 

Restaurants outside the Black 
community frequently refused to service 
Blacks, theaters refused them admission 
and recreation facilities were either 
closed to them or opened on a limited 
segregated basis. 

Jane Crow was very much in evidence 
during the women's suffrage movement. 
Rosayln Terborg-Penn notes: 

"Sojourner Truth was one of 
the few Black women noted by 
historians to have frequented 
women's rights conventions. 
She, however, was not always 
welcomed. Her narrative reveals 
that the white women at the 
Akron, Ohio, Women's Rights 
Convention in 1851 beseeched 
the chairman to forbid her to 
speak before the group. They 
felt she would ruin the move- 
ment by giving the public the 
impression that their cause was 
'mixed with abolition and 
niggers. 1 In 1858, at an 
antislavery meeting in northern 
Indiana, members of the group 
demanded that she submit her 
breasts to inspection by the 
' ladies' present to prove 
that she was not a man in dis- 
guise. The ' ladies' did not 
come to her defense, whereupon 
Sojourner rebuked them all and 
bared her breasts to the entire 
group." (6) 

After the passage of the fifteenth 
amendment, suffrage leaders ignored 
the social injustices to Blacks, 
justifying their attitude by noting 
the need for southern support. Ida 
B. Wells was told by Susan B. Anthony 
that when the Equal Suffrage Associa- 
tion met in Atlanta, Georgia, a group 
of Black women asked her if she would 
come and help them in forming a branch 
of the Suffrage Association among the 
Black women. Miss Anthony said that 
she declined to help them because of 
the feeling of the South with regard 
to Black participation on equality 
with whites. 

"The Western suffragists insisted 
that only the 'right women' be 
involved in the movement. The 
suffragists frequently justified 
enfranchising white women on 
the grounds that they deserved 
the vote more than some 'ignorant' 


classes that already had it. 
Indians, Chinese, and Negroes 
were the most frequently refer- 
red to in this vein." (7) 

"Black women seldom felt free 
from popular prejudice against 
dark skin. Occasionally such 
prejudice took ironic forms. 
When a white women's club in 
Oakland sponsored a talk by 
Booker T. Washington, most 
Black women were excluded be- 
cause the white clubwomen 'did 
not desire the attendance of 
a large body of colored persons.*." 

The Black woman was subject to yet 
another form of discrimination—color 
prejudice from not only whites, but 
fellow Blacks. This was true in real 
life as well as fiction of the American 
West. The fiction of both Black and 
white authors point out this dilemma. 
Notable, James Fenimore Cooper's pop- 
ular novel The Last of the Mohicans . 
Cooper's novel speaks not so much of 
color degrees, but of attitudes toward 
color. One of his major characters 
is Cora Munro, a mulatto, who is the 
elder daughter of Colonel Munro, a 
British aristocrat. Her mother was 
West Indian, where it was believed that 
she had African ancestory and had thus 
bequeathed to her daughter the curse 
of an inferior race. 

Further in the novel , it is stated 
that Alice, a half-sister of Cora is 
young, beautiful, blue-eyed, blond 
haired, helpless and is particularly 
beloved by her father. Cora is beauti- 
ful , has black hair and brown eyes. 
She was no timid, shrinking, helpless 
being like her half-sister Alice, but 
a courageous, intelligent, serious- 
minded, unselfish and noble individual. 
Rightfully, Cora should have been the 
real heroine of The Last of the Mohicans 
but, being a mulatto Cooper doomed her 
to a tragic end. White Alice lived 
happily ever after. (9) 

Wallace Thurman, a Black author, 
wrote the novel The Blacker the Berry . 
The story is of Emma Lou, a girl born 

of a mulatto mother and a Black father. 
Emma Lou, much to her family's regret, 
resembles her father, and because she 
was too black she was an embarrassment 
to her grandmother who was a social 
leader among the mulatto blue-veins of 
Boise, Idaho. The "Blue-Veins" motto 
was whiter and whiter every generation. (10) 

Degree of skin color was also a 
factor in determining the acceptability 
of Black women by white women. Light- 
skinned Black women appeared to have been 
preferred in white female groups. (11) 

"Life for me ain't been no crystal 

It's had tacks in it, 
And splinters 
And boards torn up, 
And places with no carpets on 
the floor- 
But all the time 
I's been a-climbin' on, 
And reachin' landin's, 
And turnin' corners, 
And sometimes goin' in the dark 
Where ther ain't been no light, 

I's still climbin' 

And life for me ain't been no 

crystal stair." (12) 

Although life was no "crystal stair", 
the Black women kept climbing on — she 
kept climbing—refusing to turn back. 

Some Black women participated in 
western suffrage campaigns and political 
activities. Most frequently mentioned 
is Naomi Anderson of Kansas, who was 
an official colored representative of 
the National American Woman's Suffrage 
Association in the West and played an 
active role in campaigns in Kansas in 
1884 and in 1896. (13) 

Black women did not accept dis- 
crimination in public places lying 

"The earliest significant pro- 
tests of Black women took the 
form of individual law suits 
during the 1860's against the 
denial of civil rights. In 


California, a Black woman filed 
one of the first successful 
suits for the right to testify 
against a white person. Several 
Black women, including the 
celebrated Mary Ellen ("Mammy") 
Pleasant, were ejected from 
San Francisco streetcars and 
filed suits which eventually 
compelled the streetcar lines 
to allow Negroes to ride. In 
the late nineteenth century, 
several western states passed 
civil rights laws, and Black 
women used them to sue theaters 
for excluding them." (14) 

The West did provide a few Black 
women with professional opportunities 
that were uncommon elsewhere. In the 
early twentieth century at least two 
western Black newspapers were edited 
by women. (15) Teachers comprised the 
elite of Black working women, although 
they were only teachers in Black 
schools. They were often paid less 
than white teachers; however, school 
teaching was one of the few careers 
open to them. Many Black teachers 
viewed Black school as "an opportunity 
to improve the education of their 
race." Kansas Blacks abandoned their 
fight for integrated schools in 1880 
on the ground that the presence of 
"educated Black men and women... 
would greatly benefit their society 
as we excite a laudable emulation in 
our children." (16) 

"Managing 'hotels' and running 
'tonsorial palaces' were among the 
most prestigious businesses operated 
by Black women in the West. Boarding 
houses were one of the few to obtain 
substantial white patronage. By 1900 
seventy 'hotels' west of the Mississippi 
were run by blacks, quite a few by 
women." (17) 

Although white temperance leaders, 
like suffragists, refused to take a 
stand against southern racial violence, 
these conditions did not prevent some 
Black women from participating in 
temperance campaigning. "Emma Ray's 
missionary zeal led her into the 
Women's Christian Temperance Union 

in both Washington and Kansas. 
Naomi Anderson was as active in 
temperance work in Kansas as she was 
in suffrage. The California Dry 
Federation had Sadie Cole of Los 
Angeles on its executive board and 
several prominent Black women on 
the city local unit." (18) 

Black women, weary of the false 
impression that they were wanton, 
immoral, and socially inferior, 
started their own social clubs in 
the West. The effort by women 
in organizing and developing clubs 
and lodges did much to make life on 
the frontier more liveable. 

The functions of most Black 
women's organizations are epitomized 
by the Sojourner Truth Industrial Club 
of Los Angeles. Established to provide 
a home for orphans and unwed women, it 
trained them in domestic arts and 
service, and helped them to cultivate 
"intellectual and moral culture". The 
club emphasized training in service 
to build character and promote the 
dignity of all labor. The lecture, 
teas, and lessons in needlecraft 
enabled Black society women to obtain 
a sense of recognition as community 
leaders and cultured females. This 
mixture of homeless girls and elite 
women served both as "a pioneer in 
welfare work" and an outlet for the 
energies of the "grander dames of 
the ghetto." (19) 

Black women were also active in 
developing religion in the west as 
Sue Bailey Thurman notes: 

"Black women were also founders 
of several churches in the 
West. Biddy Mason helped es- 
tablish and for years was sole 
support for the first A.M.E. 
Church in Los Angeles; Clara 
Brown offered her home to the 
earliest Methodist Church in 
Aurora, Colorado. Much of the 
charity work among Negro poor 
in the West was done either 
by religiously motivated Black 
women or ladies' missionary 


associations. By the end of 
the century, such groups had 
raised money for the first of 
several homes for the aged or 
working girls that Black churches 
would support in California. 
In some cities, benevolent or 
literary societies were also 
established as early as the 
1850's." (20) 

However distinguished Black women 
may have become, they received vir- 
tually no recognition for the accomp- 
lishment from whites. They could 
not escape a white attitude of indif- 
ference and a stigma of inferiority 
which restricted their opportunities 
and ignored their accomplishments. 
In their quest for white collar jobs, 
access to public facilities, and social 
respect western Black women repeatedly 
found themselves judged by their color 
rather than their abilities. 

Yes, Black women were there! Her 
roots were spread throughout the West 
like the roots of a tree. She played 
an active part in its taming, its 
development and its history. Her 
roles in the West were as numerous 
and as separate as the spots on a 

Some of the more trenchant Black 
women of the West were: 

Mary Ellen (Mammy) Pleasant--San 
Mary Ellen was born a slave, but 
married into wealth. After her hus- 
band's death she operated boarding 
houses, invested in mining stock, 
and loaned money at high interest. 
In San Francisco she filed an early 
suit for access to streetcars, 
assisted runaway slaves and alledgedly 
helped fund the Atheneum Institute, a 
cultural and civic center. (21) 
It is also said that she furnished 
John Brown with funds for his raid 
on Harper Ferry. Mary Ellen had 
access to many powerful figures. 

Tish (Aunt Tish) Nevins--Montana. 

Like Mary Ellen, Tish was born 
a slave and also operated a well 
known boarding house. Tish was born 
June 2, 1862 on the Nevins farm in 
Monroe County. She grew up with an 
appreciation of "proper" language and 
literature, although she never learn- 
ed to read and write. She employed 
many poor young people in her 
boarding house and besides paying 
them a salary, she bought them 
clothes and insisted that they go 
to school. Tish became a fabulous 
cook of international reputation and 
a personality legend in her time. 

Mary Fields — Cascade, Montana. 

Mary, who was over six feet tall 
and weighed in excess of 200 pounds^ 
is a legend. She was proud, indepen- 
dent and afraid of no one. She was 
a stagecoach driver for eight years 
and a crack shot. When she died in 
1914, the whole town mourned her 
passing. (22) 

Millie Ringgold— Montana 

Millie was a former slave who 
migrated to Fort Shaw, Montana and 
worked as a servant. She save eight- 
een hundred dollars and invested her 
savings into several mining claims. 
She worked her claims, doing all the 
digging, blasting and construction 
of ditches. 

Clara (Aunt) Brown—Denver, Col 
Clara Brown, born a slave i 
Virginia, was known as Aunt CI a 
When she migrated west in 1859 
opened "the territory's first la 
and became the first Black resi 
of Colorado. By the late I860' 
she had acquired houses or lots 
five Colorado towns and had gai 
a reputation for religious work 
and philanthropy. She died in 
1877 in her '80s. She was buri 
with honors by the Colorado Pio 
Association of which she was a 
Her chair was dedicated in 1932 
Central City Opera House, a tri 
to her charitable works. (23) 












Mattie Bel 1 --Montana. 

Mattie was born a slave who in 
1876 migrated from North Carolina 

To Fort Benton, Montana, where she 
operated a laundry. She married 
John Castner, an early white settler, 
of Belt, Montana. They built a log 
cabin at Belt, which became a station 
for the Great Falls-Lewistown Stage. 
The station grew into a hotel and 
store and the Castners ultimately 
owned two thousand acres of farm land 
by homesteading surrounding land. 

Sarah Gammon—Montana 

Sarah also married an early white 
settler, Stephen Bickford. Together 
they purchased two-thirds of a water 
system which supplied the. drinking 
water to Virginia City. They expanded 
the system by substituting iron 
pipes for wooden logs, providing run- 
ning water and indoor plumbing. This 
expanded system was the first in 
Montana. When her husband died in 
1900, she acquired two fresh water 
springs and constructed a reservoir. 
Although most of her energy was devoted 
to the Virginia City Water Company, 
Which she single-handedly operated, 
she also purchased many of the older 
buildings in Virginia for historic 
preservation. She died in 1931. (24) 

Biddy Mason--Los Angeles 

Biddy and her family were held 
slaves in San Bernadino, California, 
from 1851 to 1854. They came to the 
state with their master from Hancock 
County, Georgia, by ox team. Biddy 
drove the livestock across the plains 
into California while caring for her 
own and her mistress's children. 
Following her successful suit for 
freedom, she worked for a Los Angeles 
physician as a midwife and nurse, 
and at his suggestion, invested 
$250 in what became the downtown 
business district. By 1896, her total 
estate was estimated at $300*000. 
She also gained fame for her philan- 
thropic work and support of the first 
African-Methodist Episcopal Church. (25) 

Elizabeth Thorn Scott--Sacramento. 
Elizabeth was born in New York 
City and educated in New Bedford, 
Massachusetts. She and her husband 
came to San Francisco during the gold 
rush. They both were free born and 
well educated. After being widowed 
she moved to Sacramento, where in 
1854 she opened a private school with 
fourteen students in her own home. 
This was the first school for Black 
youths. Mrs. Scott married again and 
moved to Oakland, California and opened 
the first Black school there. (26) 

Alice Rowan Johnson--Los Angeles 

Alice was also a teacher. A native 
Cali form" an she graduated from the 
State Normal School, located in 
Los Angel es^ in 1888. She ranked very 
high in her class of sixteen. 

Kate Bradley Stovall--Los Angeles. 

Born in Austin, Texas, Kate 
graduated from Commercial High School 
in Los Angeles in 1903. She married, 
had two children and was very much 
interested in fraternal, religious, 
and secular affairs. When the Los 
Angeles Daily Times published a 
Lincoln Edition of their paper 
February 12, 1909, it also included 
the history of Black people living in 
that city at the time. The Black 
women were given a full page, which 
was edited by Kate. She organized 
the "Southern California Alumni 
Association" in 1909, and served that 
body as its president for four years 
until she became ill. She died at 
the age of thirty. 

Madam Sul-Te-Wan (Nellie Conley)-- 
Los Angeles 
Nellie was born in 1874 and as a 
child often delivered laundry to her 
mother's customers, two of whom were 
white actresses who took an interest 
in coaching Nellie in singing and 
dancing. Madam Sul-Te-Wan organized 
a highly successful theatrical touring 
group known as the Black Four Hundred 
with the aid of a then famous actress, 
Fannie Davenport. Alone, with three 
children, Madam Sul-Te-Wan appealed 


to the General Manager 
Arts Film Company for 
The Birth of a Nation , 
her outstanding acting 
D.W. Griffith gave her 
the film was finished, 
charged by the company 
stealing a book from a 
and inciting Blacks to 
showing of The Birth o 
the Los Angeles area. 
She was rehired after 
court fight. Madam Su 
became one of the few 
an accomplished actres 
the 1920's. (27) 

of the Fine 
a bit part in 
a part. After 
she was dis- 
for allegedly 
white actress 
protest the 
f a Nation in 

her successful 
Blacks to be 
s prior to 

Jane James--Utah 

Jane and her husband were members 
of the Latter-Day-Saints. They left 
Nauvoo with other Saints early in 1846 
and in 1847 they traveled to Utah. Issac 
and Jane James had six children, owned 
a land claim and home and livestock. 
The settlement of the James family 
provided Utah with a free Black popu- 
lation from its beginning in 1847. 

Charlotte Brown--San Francisco 

Charlotte was a free woman and 
excellent seamstress in Baltimore 
who saved her earnings to free her 
husband, James Brown. Charlotte and 
James went to San Francisco where 
she was an active leader in the social, 
cultural and political affairs. 
Charlotte had two daughters, Mary Ann 

and Charlotte. The younger and 
namesake of her mother was to follow 
in her mothers' footsteps by becoming 
directly responsible for winning the 
civil rights case for Blacks to ride the 
streetcars in San Francisco. (28) 

Susan Boyd Bray Waller—Lawrence, Kansas 

Susan Bray was an outspoken, 
articulate, forceful, well educated 
suffragist. As a widow with two children 
she met and married John Lewis Waller, 
an aspiring politician, and moved to 
Kansas. She assisted his political 
career by broadening his contacts and 
planning various campaigns. In 1891 
John was appointed to the United Nations 
as consul to Madagascar. Upon retiring 
in 1894, John obtained a huge land 

grant from the Madagascar government 
with which John and Susan hoped to 
establish a vast plantation in a non- 
white, under-developed region of the 
globe that would simultaneously serve 
as a vehicle for their own ambitions 
and a haven for other oppressed but 
upwardly mobile Afro- Americans. 
Viewing Waller's plans for a Black 
Utopia as a threat to their govern- 
ment, French authorities in Madagascar 
arrested Waller and sentenced him to 
twenty years in prison. Susan spent 
long hours pressuring the U.S. govern- 
ment for his release. President 
Cleveland's administration secured his 
release, but he had to give up his land. (29) 

Mary Sampson Leary Langston—Kansas 

Mary attended Oberlin College, where 
she married Lewis Sheridan Leary, a 
saddle and harnessmaker who knew John 
Brown, the abolitionist. Leary died in 
action, one of five Blacks known to have 
fought with Brown. Mary then married 
Charles Langston, who had been indicted, 
convicted, and sent to jail for breaking 
the Fugitive Slave Law. He was active 
in the Oberlin Station of the Under- 
ground Railway. In 1870, Mary and 
Charles migrated to Kansas where they 
operated a farm and grocery store. 
Mary was later to become the proud 
maternal grandmother of James Langston 
Hughes, a famous poet, novelist, 
playwright, biographer, lyricist, 
librettist, editor, columnist and 
lecturer of the Harlem Renaissance Era. (30) 

Dorys Cron Grover said that the woman 
on the frontier has been accorded the most 
respectable position because she valued 
herself; after all she was the mother 
of the West, and thus a complex, realis- 
tic woman, self-reliant, who spoke for 
equal rights in a male dominated society. 
She was a wery gallant figure. Although 
Ms. Grover was not referring to Black 
women of the West, we believe and agree 
with what was said about the white women 
of the west. We also feel that the Black 
women should be accorded these tributes. 

Sojourner Truth's (Ain't I a Woman) 
spiritual sisters and daughters of the 
West were survivors. Although they did 
not carry the dual burden of "Jim Crow" 


and "Jane Crow" graciously, they did 
carry it effectively. Despite all of 
the injustices leveled against them they 
were able to assert their human qualities, 
and to express their individual talents. 
They also shared with their men a partner- 
ship in a pioneer life on spiritual and 
psychological frontiers not inhabited by 
any other group in the United States. 

In many ways the western spiritual 
sisters and daughters of Sojourner 
Truth were exceptional and represented 
a higher degree of initiative, aggressive- 
ness and tenacity than most Americans, 
Black or white. Yet life for the 
Black women of the West wasn't "no 
crystal stair." (31) 








frontier Women: The T ran* -His* -is - 
*lppl West 1840-1880 . Julie Ray 
JeHrey. New York. Hill and Wang, 
7979, 44. 

Women oft the West . Dorothy 
Leven*on. New York. Vranklln 
Watt*, Inc., 1973. 49. 
Bodies jor Salt: Black Prostitutes 
In White kmerlca . Ed. Gerda 
Lerner. New York. Pantheon Books , 
1972, 73. 

Race, Sex, and Rag-ion: Black Women 
In the kmerlcan West, 1850-1920 . 
Lawrence B. deGrafi. Pacific 
Historical Review, May, 1980, 298. 
West oj the Rockies . John 
Wlderman . Black Enterprls e . 
Jane, 7977, 186. 
The k^ro- kmerlcan Woman: Strug- 
gle* and Image* . ShaAon HaAley 
and Rohalyn Terborg-Penn. New 
York. Kennlkat Pre** Corporation, 
1979, 20. 

Race, Sex, and Region: Black 
Women In the kmerlcan West, 
1850-1920 . Lawrence B. DeGra{. 
Pact^lc Historical Review, 
My, 1980, 308-309. 
Ibid, 292. 

"Cooper'* Treatment o£ the NegAo." 
Phylon . Vol. 8, No. 2, 174. 
Wallace ThuAman: A Western 
RenaiS*ance Man . Western kmerlcan 

11 . The k^no- kmerlcan Woman: Struggle* 
and Image* . ShaAon HaAley 6 Roialyn 
T eAbo tig -Penn. New York. Kennlkat 
Pre** Coproratlon, 1979, 19. 

12. Black Poet* oj the United State* . 
Jean WagneA. Chicago . University 
o{) Illinois Pre**, 1962,391. 

13. Race, Sex and Region: Black Women 
In the kmerlcan We*t, 1850-1920 . 
DeGrafi . Pacific Historical Review. 
My, 1980, 310. 

14. Ibid, 313. 

15. Ibid, 293. 

16. Ibid, 313. 

17 . Black* In Gold Ru*h California . 
Rudolph M. Lapp. New Haven. University 
PAe**. 1977, 118. 

18. Ibid, 119. 

19. Pioneers o& Negro Origin In 
California . Site Bailey ThuAman. 
San Pranclsco . Acme Publishing Co. 

20. Ibid, 

21. The Black West . Wlltiam Loren Katz. 
New York, knehor Book*, 1968, 50. 

22. A History oj Blacks In the Pacljlc 
Northwest , 1788-1970 . Oulntard 

T ay Ion., Jr. Ann krbor . Micro {^llm* 
International, 1978, 85. 

23. kunt Clara Brown: Story oj a - 
Black PloneeA. Kathleen BAuyn. 
Colorado . Prvett Publishing Co. 
1970, 13. 

24. A History o& Black* In the Pacific 
Northwest . Taylor. Ann krbor 
Microfilm* International, 1978, 44. 

25. Pioneers oj Negro Origin In 
California . ThuAman. San T- rands co 
Acme Publis hing Co., 44. 

26. Homespun Heroine* and Other Women 
oft Distinction . Hallie 0. Brown. 
New York. Books ior Libraries 
Pres*, 1971, 241. 

27. California 1 * Black Pioneer*: A 
B~Aie\ Historical Survey . Santa 
Barbara. Mc Nolly and Lofton 
Publishers, 1974, 127-128. 

28. Pioneer Urbanlte* : A Social and 
Cultural History oj Black San 

f 'rand* cb~ . Douglas H. Daniels . 
Philadelphia. Temple University 
Pre**. 1980, 116. 


29. A Black Ody6*e,y: John Lewis WalleA 
and the. Promise, ol AmeAican lije. , 
U18-1900 . Randall Bennett Wood*. 
Laix»ie,nce . The. Regents Pness o& 
Kani>ai>, 1981, 42-43. 

30. Langston> . Tames A. Emanuel., 
Boston. Tioayne PubtLsheHA , 1967. 

31. Ibid. 


1. "NegloeA In Colorado." James R. 

HaAvey. C olorado Magazine. . 
Vol. 26, 1949, 113. 

2. The, Blacks in the AmeAican Weit . 

W. SheAman Savage,. Westpont, 
Conn.: Greenwood Publishing, 
1916, 113. 

3. "The Pioneer Women in Tact and 

fiction" . Vonys Cn.on GAoveA. 
Heritage, oj Kansas . Spnlng, 1911, 
p. 44. 

4. "Historical Relationship* between 

Black and White, Women". EleanoA 
Smith . The, WesteAn JouAnal o& 
Black Studies . Vol 4, WinteA, 


WEST, 1840-1880 . 

by Julie Roy Jeffrey 
(Mew York: Hill 5 Wang, 1979) 

Reviewed by Courtney Ann Vaughn 

Modern scholars, such as Richard 
Hofstadter, refute Frederick Jackson 
Turner's claim that the American 
frontier provided all people an 
equal chance for economic success. 
Hofstadter states that only whites 
who could afford the trip and the 
initial cost of creating a farming 
enterprise ever benefited from 
moving west. Julie Jeffrey, associate 
professor of history and director 
of historic preservation at Goucher 
College, also accepts that the 
average emigrant was middle-class, 
but, contrary to many historians, 
she further contends that the west- 
ward movement did not liberate those 
nineteenth century women who were 
financially able to migrate. In 
her book Frontier Women: The Trans - 
Mississippi West, 1840-1880 , Jeffrey 
maintains that, much to her disappoint- 
ment, frontier life had a stifling 
effect on fledgling feminist ideas. 
Consequently, her work not only 
is an important historical contribu- 
tion, but also provides perspectives 
for contemporary women's rights 

Jeffrey supports her thesis through 
diaries, newspapers, and court 
records in which she discovers that 
rural and urban pioneer women adhered 
tenaciously to a male dominated 

society. They left the security of 
northern or southern traditional 
female roles only because their husbands 
insisted on moving, Jeffrey assesses. 
After enduring a grueling trek, they 
dug latrines and built homes; yet the 
women usually did not demand social 
power that equaled their responsi- 
bilities because, Jeffrey explains, 
such changes would only perpetuate 
working double time, within and 
outside the home. 

Expanding further on her theme, 
the author analyzes two other groups 
who willingly accepted positions 
subordinate to those of men. Mormon 
women of Utah, usually hailing from 
a low socio-economic class, accepted 
the responsibility for procreating 
through polygamous marriage and 
acquiesced to their religion's conten- 
tion that the female was man's spiritual 
inferior. Neither were school teach- 
ers the harbingers of progressive 
thought. Instead they pictured them- 
selves as humble public servants whose 
purpose was to perpetuate morality 
and "civilized manners." Prostitutes, 
Jeffrey notes, presented the only 
feminine challenges to the homemakers' 
mission. The author recounts numerous 
incidents in which groups of females 
attempted to drive their "fallen" 
sisters from a settlement or town. 

Consistent with her revisionist 
contentions, Jeffrey argues that 
western enfranchisement of both sexes 
and the existence of coeducational 
colleges do not mean that women fought 
for and succeeded in a new national 
political status. The author found 
few people like suffragette Abigail 
Scott Duniway, who said her experiences 
"brought me before the world as an 
evangel of Equal Rights for Women." 
Rather, Jeffrey holds, jurisdictions 
such as Wyoming or Utah allowed women's 
suffrage in 1869 and 1870, respectively, 
because each territory's established 
order needed support. For instance, 
Jeffrey writes, Mormons hoped to 
enfranchise members of their own faith 
and thereby continue to control the 
business interests and morality laws 
of Utah. Similarly, Wyoming politicians 


hoped that granting women the vote 
would give the territory a respectable 
image and counteract the disruptive 
influence of the transient population 
that railroad-building attracted, the 
author surmises. 

Jeffrey's conclusions are stunning, 
but to determine whether or not they 
apply to the Indian, Black, Oriental, 
and non-flormon lower-class women who 
eventually became part of western 
society, scholars must produce more 
research. Despite the incomplete 
evidence that western settlement 
affected all females in the same 
manner, Frontier Women forces today's 
feminists to realize that many modern 
women consider second-class citizen- 
ship a fair price to pay for men's 
support and protection from an often- 
times cruel world. Economic necessity 
has forced millions to abandon their 
homemaker role, enter the labor force, 
and get paid half of what the male 
counterparts earn; yet many of these 
sisters view women's rights not as 
an opportunity for economic and 
political power, but as a threat 
to the dream that they might one day 
bask in languor and luxury. 



"An Idle Hour ■ Piegan". Edward Curtis from "Portraits from North 
American Indian Life." 

Excerpted From: The Roads They 
Made: Women in Illinois History 

"by Adade Mitchell Wheeler 
with Marlene Stein Wortman 

Indian women knew how to survive 
in the wilderness; better yet, they 
had the skills to make life pleasant, 
even comfortable. Therefore they made 
useful wives for the frontier men. 
Considering the hazards of the Illinois 
frontier, such a helpmeet would seem 
not only desirable but indispensable. 
And while some white men found Indian 
women "ugly," others reported them as 
"good-looking," and some, especially 
half-breeds , were described as "beau- 
tiful." By marrying an Indian woman, 
a man could be clothed, the results 
of his hunting made palatable, his 
shelter assured; he would have the best 
care available if he became ill and 
in addition would enjoy protection 
when Indians were on the warpath 

against whites. There is much evi- 
dence that Indian women were loyal 
and loving. What more could he ask? 
Indian women were one of the greatest 
assets the white man had in the wild- 
erness . 

Although each of the various 
tribes in Illinois had its own 
customs and ceremonies, it is pos- 
sible to summarize the division of 
labor. While the men did the hunting 
and fought to protect the tribe , women 
were the producers, a role similar 
to that of white women in preindustrial 
Europe and colonial America. But in 
white society women only helped in the 
fields while Indian women took 
primary responsibility for agricultural 
production. All accounts picture her 
as seldom idle , very industrious — a 
regular Puritan of the wilderness. 

Women's work varied with the 
seasons. They were responsible for 


planting and hoeing the gardens of 
wheat or corn, squash, melons and beans. 
They gathered the wood needed for fires 
and tended them, brought water, built 
the shelter. When the tribe moved the 
women dismantled the cabins or tepees, 
carrying them on their backs. 

During harvest time, they gathered 
the wheat, if that were the main crop, 
and threshed it . They had ways of 
roasting or boiling and drying the 
wheat to preserve it. If corn were 
the staple, they husked and ground it. 
They also dried pumpkins , gathered 
berries and nuts , found many roots 
which they knew how to cook, and picked 
and prepared herbs for medicinal use. 
The bounty of the hunt was theirs to 
prepare ; they were the butchers and 
cooks for the feast and the preservers 
of meat for the future. They readied 
the skins for use, made clothing from 
the skins , often decorating it with 
ribbons, porcupine quills ,. tufts of 
dyed deer hair or even elaborate and 
lovely beadwork; they were artists. 

In northwest Illinois, Indian 
women worked the mines and the crude 
smelters which the Indians owned. The 
wife of one Indian chief, Peosta, struck 
a lode of lead which helped her group 
occupy that region. Again the women 
were doing what the whites considered 
their work, while the "braves looked 
on." But the white men continued to 
use the women as miners when they took 
over; they really were in no position 
to criticize the Indians for over- 
working women . 

From the evidence of captives 
who lived with Indians, the women did 
not protest the demands made upon 
them. They worked cheerfully. There 
are stories of their helping each other, 
sharing their meager food supplies — 
even with the whites. Jennison, an 
Englishman who was captured by the 
Indians, felt that the women's labor 
was "not severe." Their jobs, he wrote, 
were no harder than those of white 
women, and their cares "not half so 
numerous nor as great." They could 
work "as they please,... in a leisurely 
fashion. . .many of the skills of the 
colonial women were not known, so not 

practiced." This he felt was the reason 
why some women captives were so willing 
to stay with the Indians . 

Indian women seemed to have import- 
ant status and roles other than just 
work, marriage and childbearing, but 
roles which were directly related to 
their feminine nature and to the form 
of their work. Since they planted 
and harvested the crops , it was under- 
stood that they owned the land. This 
is evident in treaty making sessions 
between Indians and whites . When 
Tecumseh came to Vincennes to prove 
his land claims to the Shawnee area 
of southern Illinois , he brought women 
with him to help prove his rights. 
In 182U , Blackhawk also tried to make 
this point. At the last meeting with 
General Gaines , a woman who said she 
was the granddaughter of a chief 
testified that "the men could not sell 
the cornfields because they belonged 
to the women." If the men had sold 
the land , they would have told the women , 
she continued. They had not done so; 
the cornfields were still theirs. The 
tragedy of the Indians' effort to the 
whites comes through in this effort of 
the women to back up the men. 

The Indians recognized that since 
men were warriors, women could be more 
effective in making and keeping peace . 
The Shawnees , for instance, appointed 
female chiefs whose main duty was to 
prevent unnecessary bloodshed. If 
a war chief was bent on a war that 
other chiefs did not want , the woman 
peace chief could talk him out of it. 
She would appeal to his better nature, 
showing him what a war would mean to 
the women and children in pain and 
suffering. This was a last resort, 
but it seldom failed. Indian women 
apparently had real influence in tribal 
decision making. 

Thus did the Indian women face 
the whites as the frontier moved 
west. At times these women were able 
to temper or even to ward off some of 
the hostility and cruelty of both 
white and Indian males . It has been 
suggested that this is one reason that 
the Indian women have found their way 
into white history. 

(excerpted from chapter 1 with permission) 



by Maureen Ursenbach Beecher 

Photograph from "A Harvest Yet to Reap. 

Social history, the history of 
women in Utah in particular, is in the 
patchwork stage of its development. 
Historians studying women and the 
circumstances of their lives have 
assembled some impressive and signi- 
ficant patches, but we are far from 
being able to put the whole into a 
meaningful configuration. As I 
scoured the literature for insights 
into marriage patterns, even in the 
broader context of America as a 
whole, I discovered that we know 
\/ery little about the actual dynamics 
of marriage in the nineteenth century, 
that period which provides us with 
our nearest roots. 

There are some splendid patches, 
however, ready to fit into some sort of 
pattern, and educated guessing might 
make them applicable to our immediate 
concern. Take, for instance, the 
1973 study of Robert V. Wells who 
compared some vital events in the lives 
of women in early America. Such 
simple data as dates of birth, marriage, 
births of children, and death help to 
form a picture of differing patterns 
of marital experience. In comparing 
three groups of women--one group born 
before 1786, a second group born 
between 1880 and 1889, and a more recent 
group born between 1920 and 1929-- 
Wells discovered an emerging trend 
which might well be expected to continue 
to our time, with implications for our 
experience and expectations. 

Wells observed from his data that, 
though the average age at marriage 
never varied more than a year, women 
in the 1880 's group could expect to 
spend the next forty years after 
marriage rearing children, while the 
1920 's group would spend only thirty-one 
years. The first group would be 
bearing children over a period of 
17^ years, the last group only 9.7 years. 
The first group of women would, on the 
average, lose a spouse before the 
children were raised, leaving them as 
single parents for nearly ten years. 
Couples in this century would, on the 
other hand, share 12^ years together 
after their last child had left home. 
The expectations with which we approach 
marriage and lifespan planning, then, 
are obviously far different than those 
which would have faced our foremothers. 

Demographic historians such as 
Wells are making inroads into the maze 
of records which might guide us in 
assembling a pattern of marriage and 
family life for our study of Utah in 
the period between 1847 and 1979. 
Dean May and associates are measuring 
fertility among this same population; 
and Phillip Kunz and James Smith are 
studying plural marriages in the same 


Social historians are drawing on 
the findings of the demographers before 
the ink dries on their published 
results, and men like Leonard Arrington 
and Davis Bitton and women like Jill 
Mulvay Derr and Vicky Burgess-Olsen 
are helping us see what it all meant. 
But mostly they are asking questions. 
All in all, we're discovering that 
Utahans, whatever distinguishing 
features they might have or whatever 
groups with which they may be aligned, 
are for all that--mainstream Americans, 
and that the overviews of historians 
like John Demos make as much sense 
for Utah as the East. But we're 
all just beginners. The history 
of marriage and the family in America 
as in Utah, is in its early stages. 

Realizing, then, that it is too 
soon to expect definitive studies of 
marriage patterns in nineteenth century 
Utah, let's look instead for some 
pieces, quilt blocks, if you will, 
which will eventually fit the whole. 
I propose to look at three marriages 
and make observations about the 
conditions of life in nineteenth 
century America and the impact of 
those conditions on marriage. 

When Martha Jane Knowlton Coray 
died in 1881, the Woman's Exponent 
eulogized her thus : 

Very Early in life she evinced a 
character in a degree somewhat 
rare for one of her sex--that is 
of decidedly doing her own 

That tells a lot about Martha Jane Coray; 
it tells even more about the image of 
women during the 1800' s, when a woman's 
magazine edited by one of the brightest, 
most forward-thinking conservative 
feminists of her time should suggest 
the quality of independent thought as 
being "rare" for a woman. But let's 
return to Martha Jane Coray, whose 
story begins before 1847 across the 
Great Plains from Utah. We can best 
get at it through the diary of husband- 
to-be, Howard Coray. 


Howard Coray came as a young 
man, newly converted, to Nauvoo, Illinois, 
the center of Mormon activities at that 
time. There he became clerk to the 
prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph was a very 
active man, fond of a good scuffle 
now and again. Returning home one 
afternoon with young Howard, Joseph 
expressed his wish that his clerk appeared 
a bit heavier than he and that they 
could have a match. The challenge was 
Howard; his 130 pounds to 
seemed no problem when his 
threatened. They squared 
the first fall, Howard felt 

too much for 
Joseph's 200 
manhood felt 
off, and at 

the scrunch of pain. His leg was 
broken. The Prophet carried the 
young man home, tended to his care, and 
dropped by several times to see to his 
well being. On one of those visits 
he asked sympathetically if there were 
anything more he could do. Howard 
suggested a blessing might be in order. 
From Howard's reminiscence we read: 

He said no more for a minute or 
so, meanwhile looking \'ery 
earnestly at me; then said: 
"Brother Coray, you will soon 
find a companion, one that will 
be suited to your condition, 
and whom you will be satisfied 
with. She will cling to you 
like the cords of death; and 
you will have a good many child- 
ren." He also said some other 
things which I can't so distinct- 
ly remember. 

Subsequent some three or four 
weeks while at meeting the 
blessing of the Prophet came to 
my mind. So I thought I would 
take a square look at the con- 
gregation, and see who there was; 
that. . .possibly the fair one 
promised me might be present. 
After looking a while at the 
audience my eyes settled upon 
a young lady... She was an entire 
stranger to me, and a resident 
of some other place. I concluded 
to approach near enough to her 
to scan her features well. 
...She had dark brown eyes, very 
bright and penetrating; at least 
they penetrated me. 

Howard Coray's account of this 
first impression suggests what the 
social historians have been telling 
us--that however practical the other 
reasons for marriage might have been 
(the need for family as part of the 
social order; the economic dependence 
of women; the need of a man for a good 
wife and helpmate; the dowry which 
might come with her), the first cause 
in marriage continued to be, as it 
had been since the colonial period, 
romantic love. And, in this case, 
love at first sight. Howard goes on, 
relating how he wangled from a mutual 
friend an introduction to the young 

I discovered at once that she 
was ready, off-hand, and inclined 
to be witty; also, that her mind 
took a wider range than was 
common for young ladies of her 
age... I said to myself, she will 
do; the fact is, I was decidedly 

The respect Howard had for Martha 
Jane's mind set a pattern for their 
marriage. Soon after their wedding, 
they were both teaching school in 
Nauvoo, Martha Jane often carrying 
on alone as Howard was called on 
repeated missions for his church. It 
was there that they together compiled 
Mother Lucy Mack Smith's recollections 
of her family into a book that is 
presently going into yet another 
printing. That task was initially 
Martha Jane's, but it is significant 
that, as Howard notes: 

I was requested also to drop the 
school... and help her in the 
matter of the history. After 
consulting Pres. Young, who 
advised me to do so, I consented; 
and immediately set to with my 
might. We labored together 
until the work was accomplished.. 

A man's following his wife into a 
task which she had initiated seems 
out of the ordinary. Certainly it 
does not fit with the generalizations 
of family historians who describe 
the accepted role of women as, among 

other things, subservient. The pattern 
for the Corays, however, seems to 
have been set: each would do whatever 
task presented itself without regard 
to the usual sex role stereotypes. 
While camping on the Nishnabotna, 
for instance, on their way to Utah, 
Howard farmed and Martha "tended 
ferry" for passing emigrants. 
Children arrived in the family with 
regularity, and, surprisingly for the 
time, all twelve survived to adulthood. 
By the time the family was finally 
settled in Utah with a home in Provo 
and a farm near Mona in Juab County, 
the division of labor had evened itself 
out. Although Martha's diary once 
read "Washed forenoon, plowed after- 
noon," the days more often found her 
doing the more typically female tasks 
indoors, Howard the more usual mascu- 
line work, outdoors. The adjustment 
seems to have been satisfactory to 
both; even reading between the lines 
of Martha's sparse daily entries, I 
find no evidence of friction. Of 
course, that could suggest simply 
an easy working arrangement--my 
marriage counselor friend remarked 
to me that often the positive bonds 
that hold a new marriage together 
disintegrate into negative bonds 
as the marriage matures—but there is 
no evidence in the diary to either 
support or refute that conclusion 
here. Martha Jane went on to supple- 
ment the family income by practicing 
law (on a para-legal basis, I'm sure), 
teaching school, distilling herbs 
for linaments, and eventually serving 
on the Board of Trustees of the newly 
founded Brigham Young University 
(though I doubt that she was recompensed" 
monetarily for that one). In any case, 
the adjustment seems to have worked 
well, as far as work loads were con- 

And the bonding seems to have 
held. When she fell ill, Martha's 
husband recorded that 

She had been afflicted several 
years with a cough, which had 
now become so bad, that I thought 
it best to come to Provo, where 
I could take better care of her 
than was possible on the farm 


in (Mona ) ; but, with all that 
care and medicine could do, 
she left us--she lingered till 
December 14th, 1881, when her 
spirit took its flight. 

That reads to me like the concern 
of a man for someone more to him 
than a partner in the business of 
family support. But then I could be 
wrong . 

One feels an inevitable insecur- 
ity making judgments about a person, 
a marriage, from the participant's 
own account. And in the case of this 
next family, I am doubly troubled, 
because my view of the woman, whose 
autobiography I have studied, differs 
in some aspects from the view of her 
youngest son, who edited the manuscript, 
I know the work only as a piece of 
literature, the woman only as her 
words reveal her. But with that hedge, 
let me suggest some aspects of another 

I speak of Annie Clark Tanner, 
whose restrained yet deeply soul- 
searing autobiography is available in 
print under the title A Hormon Mother . 
Born to a polygamous family in 
Farmington, Annie knew what she herself 
would find in entering a plural 
marriage. Or thought she knew. 

When Annie accepted the proposal 
of Joseph Marion Tanner, a dashing 
young intellectual who had been her 
teacher at BYU, she realized that 
their marriage would have to be secret. 
He already had one wife, and the year 
was 1883, when what was then termed 
"illegal cohabitation" was punishable 
by imprisonment. Annie's own account 
of the wedding night will suggest 
the tensions which marred her marriage 
from the outset. 

After the ceremony, Mr. Tanner 
and Aunt Jennie, as we familiarly 
called the first wife, and I 
took the northbound train. I got 
off at Farmington and they went 
on to Ogden. I do not recall 
any conversation while on the 
train. Perhaps the feelings of 

Aunt Jennie accounted for the 
si lence. 

It was 
home an 
was at 
of bein 
of the 
of feel 
dear ol 
to be s 
a whi le 

dark when the 
d my brother 
the depot. I 
g so glad that 
family was the 

to meet me . 
ing, as I ente 
d home) , that 
afely there an 

at least, of 
inty that the 

train arrived 
i 1 ford 
some member 
re at the 
I recall now 
red (the 
I was qlad 
d free , for 
all the 
future might 

Mary Elizabeth gave me a hearty 
welcome with the question, "Did 
it happen?" She and the others 
were satisfied with my answer when 
I cheerfully replied, "Ask me no 

The family had finished the 
evening meal. As I sat down to 
a glass of milk and bread the 
thought came to me. "Well, this 
is my wedding supper." In those 
few minutes I recalled the elabor- 
ate marriage festivals which had 
taken place in our own family, 
of the banquets I had helped to 
prepare and the many lovely brides 
among my friends. I even began 
to compare their wedding gowns. 
I was conscious of the obscurity 
of my own first evening after 
marriage. "What a contrast," 
I said to myself. "Mo one will 
ever congratulate me." 
Yet I was sure I had taken the 
•right step and recall feeling 
confident that something really 
worthwhile had been accomplished. 
Finally I broke the silence. 

"The experience wasn't half bad." 

"You haven't half begun yet," 
father replied. 

I realized the truthfulness 
of his remark two weeks later, 
when fir. Tanner failed to keep 
his appointment to come to see 
me. I was so disappointed that 
it seemed to me that the very 


anqels wept with me. 

Annie had married Joseph Marion 
Tanner, I believe, for the beauty 
of his mind. She makes reference to 
her hopes for the education her 
children would receive at his hand, 
for the rich intellectual tone he 
would bring to their home. At one 
time he was president of Brigham Young 
College here in Logan, and after a 
period of study in law at Harvard, 
he was appointed president of the 
Agricultural College, the present 
Utah State University. Annie had a 
right, it would seem, to expect the 
best of him for her children. But 
there was trouble in the marriage, 
which, however closely one reads the 
book, remains more or less obscure, 
hidden in part at least by Annie's 
conscious care not to speak ill 
of her children's father. 

There is in marriage counselling 
a principle of "least interest." It 
suggests that the person who has the 
least to lose in a given situation 
has the greater power. Certainly 
Annie was in most cases at a disad- 
vantage. Dependent on Marion for 
sustenance, for affection, for status- 
whatever she could obtain under laws 
which declared her an illegal wife, 
her children legally illegitimate-- 
and for the intellectual stimulation 
which had been her aphrodisiac, 
she would always be in a position of 
little power. But on one occasion 
she resorted, not to the obvious 
sort of manipulation, but to a use 
of covert power. Marion had gone to 
Cambridge with the promise that Annie 
could follow for the second year of 
his stay there. Hungry for the high 
culture which Harvard University re- 
presented, as well as for Marion 
himself, she prepared eagerly for 
the trip. 

My trunk was packed. I had even 
dried corn and picked, stewed and 
dried on earthen plates some 
native black currants, because 
I knew they were Mr. Tanner's 
favorite fruit. But.... 
The day before our train was to 

leave, a letter came from Mr. 
Tanner saying it would be better, 
all around, if I gave up my trip 
to the East now. 

I said nothing to anyone about the 
letter, but went on with my plans 
and was soon on an eastward bound 

But in spite of this show of 
willful determination, the marriage 
seemed doomed to failure from the 
beginning. The stoic silence with 
which Annie controls herself is 
excruciating in this description 
of the end of her marriage: 

One Sunday morning as my husband 
and I stood on the front porch 
of our home together, he informed 
me that he would not come to 
Farmington to see us any more. 
There had been no previous dif- 
ferences between us except the 
children's education to which no 
reference had recently been made, 
so the statement was a great shock 
to me at the time. Inwardly, 
I felt impelled to persuade him 
otherwise, and I was sure he 
had expected me to. I nevertheless 
controlled myself and made no 
response to his far-reaching 
decision. My silence at the 
moment was not an easy thing. 

There is a postscript to the 
marriage which I feel is significant. 
Obert Tanner, Annie and Marion's 
youngest son, in his introduction 
to the book called his mother's 
life "a tragedy." I cannot agree. 
There is in her response to her 
life, with all its disappointments, 
a greatness which is tempered by 
those wery sorrows. She recognized 
it. Her comment at the time of 
Marion's announcement reads: 

I am aware now that the years 
of the preceding struggle to live 
polygamy had all helped to steel 
me for whatever may come. I 
thought in those few moments 
before he departed: "I'll be 
equal to whatever must come." 


In the most exalted sense, Annie 
became for her children the father 
she thought she had given them. And 
in the becoming, transcended the woman 
she would otherwise have been. 

John Demos, outlining the history 
of the family in America, wrote of our 
period that "it is hard... to avoid 
seeing the nineteenth century as a 
time of troubles—not to say tragedy— 
in the history of the family. Sex - 
role typing, the generation gap, a 
guilt-laden sense of domestic respon- 
sibility, tortured attitudes toward 
sexual ity— the total situation was 
hardly a benevolent one." Certainly 
it is easy to see examples of all of 
those problems in Utah marriages of 
the past century. 

But there were in the nineteenth 
century, despite its Victorian 
strictures against warmth and gen- 
uineness in human relations, some 
marriages—perhaps many— which did 
achieve deeper levels of support and 
communication. One such marriage 
was that of Uriah J. Wenner and his 
wife Kate. Aristocratic in her 
New England upbringing, Kate was 
educated in the Moravian Seminary, 
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Christian 
in her faith, she married "the man 
God made and kept for me." Obviously 
herself in love of the most romantic 
kind, she reported her husband's 
similar feelings: "His first words 
were, 'Is there anybody else? If 
so, breathe the answer softly so as 
not to disturb the ashes of a deeply 
buried happiness. '" 

There was a short engagement, a 
wedding, and a honeymoon ending in 
Salt Lake City, where her husband 
opened a law office. The young 
couple built a home on Brigham Street 
and settled into the marital and social 
life of the city. Mot Mormons, still 
they found themselves enjoying, and 
being enjoyed by, their LDS neighbors. 
In a delightful departure from the 
usual modesty of nineteenth century 
diarists, Kate recorded a small 
moment of their married life: 


The second year, George V arrived 
and was a few months old when the 
big social event of the winter 
was the opening of Mrs. Kimball's 
new home on Main Street. I had 
been secretly holding for this 
occasion a beautiful gown my 
mother had sent me from the East. 
When I burst forth in this finery 
and heard those things dear to the 
heart of every wife— we never went 
to that party. I was addressed 
as Miss G. (Her maiden name) and 
courted all over again, and our 
baby asleep smiled his benediction. 

It speaks hopefully for the loosen- 
ing of unnatural strictures to read the 
response of the hostess, Mrs. Kimball, 
the older lady whose mothering would 
have been done during the height of 
Victorian prudery. Kate wrote: 

The next day I made honest confes- 
sion to my hostess and she put her 
arms around me and said, "God bless 
you for your love and truth." 

Two children had been born to the 
Wenners when, in the fifth year of their 
marriage, they learned of Uriah's 
tuberculosis. (Kate says "my husband 
was not so well," an apparent euphemism 
necessary, even at the time of writing, 
several years later, to buffer the 
severity of the disease.) Perfect 
rest was prescribed, so the Wenners 
sold the law practice and the city 
home and bought a few sheep and several 
acres on Fremont Island in Great Salt 
Lake. "I felt like a real frontier 
woman/' wrote Kate. " Homes teading. 
I loved the sound of it. Relatives 
and friends were horrified at our 
desolate summer on a desert island. 
My heart was beating health, health 
for him." 

The summer was to 
We tried to think 
we would need for 
life. We arranged 
sail boat to carry 
thought of the Ark 
in two by two, the 
girl , age four and 
two men, the hired 
captain, as he cal 

be a trial run. 

of everything 

camping and tent 
for an old 
us over. I 
as we marched 
little boy and 
two years, 
girl , and 

led himself. 

The trip somehow took the Wenners 
three days--calms, head winds, squalls, 
and seasickness made the voyage 
treacherous. It is not surprising 
that Kate resolved, however whimsically, 
that before she would return to the 
mainland, she "perhaps would wait 
until the lake dried up." 

The life they created was an idyll 
out of the pastoral tradition. Their 
sheep prospered; monthly mail from the 
mainland kept them informed of, but not 
inhibited by civilization's march. 
"Time slipped by so pleasantly that 
months slipped into years." The 
children—a third child had joined 
the family by now—were saved from 
all the usual diseases. (On their 
one trip to the mainland, their grand- 
father asked one of the children if 
she had had whooping cough, an epidemic 
of which was in progress. Replied 
little Blanche, "Grandpa, I think we 
had all the diseases except Polygamy 
before we went to the island.") 

Typical of Kate's account of their 
life on the island is this moment: 

One of our favorite walks after 
the evening meal was to Sunset 
Rock, and as the brilliant colors 
of the sky faded, my brave husband, 
who then was struggling with his 
health unbeknownst to me, would 
repeat: "God's in his Heaven— All 's 
right with the world!" 

The inevitable day came. Kate 
wrote, remembering: 

Just once I realized things might 
change. I thought my husband 
was taking a nap, when from the other 
room I heard him softly saying, 
"In my Father's house are many 
mansions." I ran to the shore 
where the children were playing 
to gain strength to fight my own 
anxiety and to catch their cheer 
and sunshine for him. That night 
I awakened many times wishing the 
wind would go down. Next morning, 
busy (about the house) I heard 
him call and the voice sounded 
far away and between the upstairs 

and the downstairs 
I knew! 

I knew, oh, 

With these words, "I love you, 
love the children," he left the 
island. There I stood alone facing 
death for the first time in all 
my life; the three little children 
were on a faraway hill, happy in 
their pi ay... I met them and 
explained as best I could. Did 
anyone ever stop the laughter and 
halt the happiness of little 
children? It takes something 
from one that never comes back. 

The burial seemed best conducted 
out of the children's sight. Kate 

I sent my children to a faraway 
beach for pebbles, and told them 
when they saw their flag at the 
upstairs window to come home. 
When all was over they came and 
with these beautiful pebbles of 
all colors we each made a letter 
and spelled the word LOVE on the 
newly made grave. 

The sense is akin to the feeling 
expressed by Bathsheba Smith at the 
death of her husband: "he was gone, 
my light, my sun, my life, my joy, 
my lord, yea almost my God. But I 
must not mourn but prepare myself 
to meet him." Kate's record ends 
with a similar upward glance, surely 
the most convincing proof of the 
soundness of the marriage relationship: 

Then came a shower like sympathy 
from Heaven and soon a rainbow and 
the sunshine lit up my world 
again-- the glorious memories of 
our life and love on that desert 

So although these are only patches 
in the social history of women and 
marriage relationships in America, may 
we sense the universal s in the lives 
of which these women wrote, feel 
kinship with them, and extend to women 
everywhere compassionate understanding 
and support as we work to understand 
marriage patterns— or patches thereof— 
in the present as well as in the past. 


Chicago Public Library staff, circa 1895 


5. Library of Congress; Manuscript Division 

6. Church Historical Archives 

7. Families and Friends (correspondence, etc.) 

8. National Archives in Washington, D.C. — 

official records and documents 


1. Radcliffe College, Arthur and 

Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on 
The History of Women in America. 

Patricia Miller King, Libn. 
3 James Street, Cambridge, Mass. 02138 
l6k personal collections, 2k organi- 
zational collections including 
National Women's Trade Union 
League Papers, National League of 
Women Voters Papers, Women's Rights 
Collection ; now collecting current 
Women's Liberation Movement. 

2. Yale University Library, Manuscripts 

and Archives 

compiled by Lynn Thomas Strauss 

Scholarly books and articles on 
women in American history are not easy 
to find because women's papers have 
not been collected. Only a handful of 
historians have actually done research 
in primary materials. (Although this 
is changing as more and more research 
continues and new collections continue 
to be established) 

Several of our contributors in 
writing about women on the frontier 
confronted the difficult task of re- 
search in this field where so few have 
gone before. Some of our articles 
represent new contributions to the 
discovery and recovery of the story 
of women on the American frontier. I 
trust this guide and bibliography will 
aid future researchers and enable them 
to go even further in uncovering our 
rich heritage. 


1. Newspapers, periodicals, diaries, 
journals, collected papers (women's 
papers may be collected under her 
husband ' s name . ) 

2. State Historical Societies 

3. University Archives 

k. Special Group Archives (private) 

Lawrence Dowler, Assoc. Libn. 

Box 1603 A Yale St a. New 'Haven, 

Conn. 06520 

Audio tapes , videotapes , microforms , 

primarily non-literary American 

papers from l8th century to present. 

Women's History Research Center, 
Microfilm Library 

Laura X, Libn. 2325 Oak St. Berkley, 
CA. 9^708 

Notes , microfilm of collection of 
Women's periodicals 1956-7*+ housed 
at Northwestern University Library, 
Special Collections Dept. Evanston, 
II. 60201 c/o Sarah Sherman 

University of North Carolina, 
Greensboro, Walter Clinton Jackson 

Emile Mills , Special Collections 

Libn. 1000 Spring Garden St. 

Greensboro, N.C. 27^12 

Includes books printed from l6th 

century to early 20th. Major authors 

include Mary Wollstonecroft , Aphra 

Behn, Mary As tell, 

Collection is primarily 19th & 20th 

century non-fiction writers of N.C, 

also papers of Gertrude Weil; 

University Archives houses 80 years 


of history of the school, once the 
largest state supported residential 
college for women which became 
co-educational in 1963. 

5 . Connecticut College , Library- 
Brian Rodgers , Librn. Mohegan Ave. 
New London, Conn. 06320 

6. Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College 

Northampton, MA. 

7. University of Colorado Libraries 

Western Historical Collection 

Boulder, Colorado 80302 
History of Colorado WCTU organized 
in i860 & active in woman's 
suffrage, prison reform, homes for 
unwed mothers , day nursuries , 
8-hour laws . 

8. Howard University, Moorland- 

Springain Research Center , 

Michael Winston, Dir. 

500 Howard PI. N.W. Washington, 

D.C. 20059 

9. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 

Love Library, University Archives/ 
Special Collections 

Joseph Svoboda, Libn. 
Lincoln, NE, 68588 
The Mari Sandoz Collection, cor- 
respondence files, Plains Indians 
and western American history 
unpublished manuscripts, authors 
resource files . 

10. Columbia University, Barnard College 

Wollman Library 

Patricia Ballou, libn. 

Broadway & 117th St. New York, N.Y. 


Includes Bertha Van Riper Overburg 

Gift Collection of nearly 2000 rare 

editions of books by American women 

biographical works , letters and 

literary manuscripts . 

11. Catalyst 

Gurley Turner, Dir. of Information 
lU E. 60th St. New York, N.Y. 10022 
Women, work and careers . 

12. YWCA National Board Library 

Elizabeth Norris , libn 

600 Lexington Ave. N.Y. 10022 

Women and their contemporary interests 

13. Vassal College Library 

Frances Goudy, libn. 
Box 20, Poughkeepsie , N.Y. 12601 
Emphases on women's rights, 
suffrage and ERA, papers of 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Paulina 
Wright Davis , Maria Mitchell and 
Alma Lutz. 






Winthrop College , Ida Jane Dacus 

Ron Chepesuik, Libn. 

Rock Hill, S.C. 29733 

Women's history in South Carolina, 

local history . 

California Historical Society 

Gary Kurutz, Libn. 2099 Pacific Ave. 
San Francisco 9^109 
Areas of strength include Gold Rush, 
overland narratives, Indians, women's 
history, posters, newspapers ,geneology, 

Women's International League for 
Peace and Freedom, University of 
Colorado Libraries, Western 
Historical Collections, 

Boulder, Colorado 80302 
Correspondence & reports on League 
founded by Jane Addams and European 
leaders in 1915 • 

Reminiscences, Oral History Collection 
Columbia University, New York City 

Claremont College, 
Denison Library 

Ella Strong 


Judy Harvey, Libn. Scripps College 
Claremont, CA 91711 

Ida Rust Macpherson Collection 
Centers on humanistic accomplish- 
ments of women, suffrage & emanci- 
pation, women in westward movement . 

19- Friends Historical Library of 
Swarthmore College 

Bernice Nickols, Curator of Peace 
Collections, Swarthmore, PA. 19081 
International arbitration, documents 
of Women's Peace Party 1915-1919, 
American Peace Society 1828-19^7, 
World Peace Foundation 1911- 
Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 & 

20. Brown County Historical Society 

Museum Library 

Paul Klammer, Dir. 

27 N. Broadwy, New Ulrn, Minn 


Family files , about 2500 pioneer 

families , incl obituaries , 

pictures, documents, letters. 

21. Museum of the American Indian 


Mary B. Davis, Libn. 

Broadwy at 155th St. New York, N.Y. 


Collection of all aspects of 

Indians of Western hemisphere. 

22. Haverford College Library, 

Quaker Collection 

23. Judy Chicago's Dinner Party 

Research Materials 

Through the Flower Corp. 

P.O. Box 8U2 Benicia, CA 9U51O 

(For materials emphasizing Illinois 
and Chicago Women's history send for: 
Library Resources For Women's 
Organizations , A Chicago Area Guide 
Compiled for Illinois Women's 
History Week March 2-8, 1980. 
Sponsored by The Illinois Women's 
Agenda, 53 West Jackson Blvd. 
Chicago, II. 6060U. (312) 922-8530 ) 


1 • Century of Struggle by Eleanor Flexner 

2. History of Woman Suffrage , six volumes 

edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton & 
Susan B. Anthony & Mathilda Gage 
published Rochester, N.Y. , l88l. 

3 . America Through Women's Eyes by Mary 

R. Beard , N.Y. MacMillan, 1933. 
J +. The American Woman: Who Was She? 

by Anne Firor Scott, Englewood Cliffs, 

N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971. 
5 • Up From The Pedestal by Aileen Kraditer 

Chicago: Quadrangle Press, 1968. 
6. The American Sisterhood by Wendy Martin 

N.Y. Harper & Row, 1972. 
7- The Women in American History by 

Gerda Lerner, Menlo Park, CA: 

Addi son-Wesley Publishing Co. 1971. 
8. The Report of the President's 

Commission on the Status of Women 

edited by Margaret Mead & others 

Washington, D.C.: Superintendent 

of Documents, 1963. 

Material in specific areas : 
I. Indian Women 

The Indian in America's Past 
by Jack Forbes, Englewood Cliffs, 
N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 196U. 
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee 
by Dee Brown, N.Y. Holt, 
Rinehart & Winston, 1970. 
Mountain Wolf Woman , edited by 
Nancy Oestrich Laurie, Ann Arbor, 
MI: U of Mich. Press, 196l. 
2 . Colonial Women 

The Dear-Bought Heritage 

by Eugenie Andruss Leonard 

Philadelphia: U of Penn. Press, 


Daughters of The Promised Land 

by Page Smith, Boston, Little 

Brown & Co. 1970. 

A Little Commonwealth: Family 

Life in Plymouth Colony by 

John Demos, New York: Oxford 

University Press, 1970. 

Career Women of America , 1776-18U0 

Elizabeth A. Dexter, Francestown, 

N.H. , M. Jones, 1950. 

Colonial Women of Affairs by 

Elizabeth Dexter, Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin, 1931. 


3. Frontier Women 

"Women and Children on the Califor- 
nia-Oregon Trail in the Gold Rush" 
by Georgia Willis Reed, in Missouri 
Historical Review , 20 (19UU), pp. 

"Blessed Damozels : Women in 
American History," by Leonard 
Arrington in Western History , 
50 (spring 1970). 

h . Black Women 

Marriage and Family Among Negroes 
by Jesse Bernard, Englewood Cliffs, 
N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1966. 
"The Negro Woman and The Search 
for Equality," by Pauli Murray 
paper presented at the Leadership 
Conference of the National Council 
of Negro Women in Washington, 
B.C. in 1963. 

5 . Southern Women 

The Southern Lady by Anne Fir or 
Scott, Chicago, U of C Press, 1970. 
Bonnet Brigades by Mary Elizabeth 
Massey, N.Y. Alfred A. Knupf, 1966. 

ig. Women's Education 

History of Women's Education in 
The United States , 2 vols, by 
Thomas Woody, N.Y. & Lancaster, PA: 
The Science Press, 1929. 

(Material for this guide was gathered 
from many sources, but most valuable 
resource books include The Woman 
Question in American History edited by 
Barbara Welter, Hinsdale, IL,: The 
Dryden Press, 1973 and Subject Col- 
lections , Fifth Edition, compiled 
by Lee Ash, N.Y. & London: 
R.R. Bowker Co. , 1978. ) 



Pioneer settlers in 1887: Eloquent testimony by women who endured floods, Indian raids and plagues of grasshoppers 

Culver Pictures 

Walking with Women Through Chicago 
History (Salsedo Press, $3.95) is 
a new paperback that grew from a bus 
tour organized during last year's 
Women's History Week. "There were 
so many requests for repeats , we de- 
cided to put together a book," says 
Mary Ann Johnson, one of the four 
historians who divided up the city 
and retraced the steps of Chicago's 
most influential women — obscure and 
famous, past and present. 

Johnson, who runs the restored 
Jane Addams Hull House at the 
University of Illinois at Chicago 
Circle, devotes her portion of the 
guide to the Near West Side, Addams' 
old stomping ground. Other sections 
cover the Loop, the Prairie Avenue 
area and Hyde Park. Detailed maps 
pinpoint the exact locations of women's 
organizations (both thriving and 
defunct) , statues honoring women, 
artists' studios , suffragette parade 
routes, schools, offices, social 
agencies, factories and mansions 
(philanthropists and their overworked 
maidservants both are noted here). 

Because so many of the build- 
ings have been replaced, urban 
adventurers will find this volume 
more valuable as a guide to the spirit 
and the mind of women in the past 
100 years than as a sightseeing 
manual, but a working imagination 
and a sturdy pair of shoes will make 
the trips worthwhile. 

Pioneer Women: Voices From The 
Kansas., Frontier by Joanna L. Stratton 
(Simon and Schuster, $16.95) tells 
the story of the gradual transforma- 
tion of Kansas from virgin prairie 
and isolated outposts to cultivated 
fields and bustling towns. Stratton 
draws the material for her story of 
the contributions of women in Kansas 
history from the uncompleted 
memoirs of her great -grandmother , 
Lilla Day Monroe, herself a pioneer. 


VICTORIAN WOMEN A documentary account of 
women's lives in nineteenth-century 
England, France, and the United States. 
Edited by Erna Olafson Hellerstein, 
Leslie Parker Hume, and Karen M. Of fen. 
(Stanford University Press, 198l). 

Diaries, letters, autobiographies, 
poems, medical records, wills, tomb- 
stone inscriptions, games, household 
budgets, etiquette manuals, investiga- 
tive committee reports, and the writings 
of nineteenth-century social scientists 
were collected by the three scholars who 
have produced this enthralling book. 
Many of the more than 200 documents have 
never before been published and some 
have been translated into English for 
the first time. Arranging their material 
into four parts reflecting the female 
life cycle, the editors reveal the life 
experiences of women in many social 
classes and cultural settings with an 
extraordinary vividness. 

Of particular interest to students of 
the American frontier are such entries 
as : "An American girl goes West with her 
family", "Death on the American Frontier", 
"Hard work is the watchword in Kansas", 
"The cares of two California women", and 
"Witches, healers, beggars, and outcasts." 

This is a volume of impeccable scholar- 
ship which makes a significant contribu- 
tion to the growing fields of Women's 
Studies and Women's History. 




Dear Helen, 

What a lovely surprise it was 
to receive a copy of The Creative 
Woman with a splendid review of my 

Your magazine obviously fills 
an important role, and the review 
itself was the best we have seen. 
Nickolas Livingston — please give 
him my thanks — chose a stimulating 
theme by connecting thoughts in the 
book with aspirations ■ of novelists 
and poets and musicians as well as 
with those of painters . 

Please thank all concerned for 
that fine review. It should help 
me become the most famous artist 
on Goose Pond Road, Fairfax, Vermont! 

Larry Goldsmith 

Response to 
Martin's Letter: 

I agree with you that "internalized 
oppression" is not the same, concep- 
tually, as "internalized aggression". 
We believe that if you review the 
eighteen issues of our quarterly, 
published since 1977, you will in 
fairness decide that we are on your 
side in the larger argument to which 
you point . We are also outraged 
when people "blame the victim", and 
we point out bigotry whenever we en- 
counter it. 

We do appreciate your sending us your 
work and we were glad to print it. 
It is a valuable contribution to the 
understanding of the cultural images 
which complicate our process of lib- 
eration as women. HEH 






February 8, 1982 

Helen E. Hughes, Editor 
T he Creative Woman 
Governors State University 
Park Forest South, IL 60^66 

Dear Doctor Hughes t 

I vigorously protest the use of my name over the article, 
"The Black Mother: Cultural Images," which appears in the Third 
World Woman issue of $h e Creative Woman . In its published form 
there appear major--and unacceptable — changes from the original. 

Specifically, the original essay -has been condensed such 
that its central thrust has been distorted and the essay's mean- 
ing become unclear. Now there is not only a mispelling; in some 
instances, the language of the unauthorized revision is, to the 
extent that it alters my intended meaning, inaccurate and mis- 
leading. For example, I wrote "^Internalized aggression} is a 
consequence of the victim being unable to act on his or her rage 
against the oppressor and so turning it in against the self." 
The published version reads that internalized aggression "is a 
consequence of the victim's failure to act on his or her rage 
against the oppressor, so turning it inward against the self." 
(p. Zk) Not so. At this level the victim is not at fault. This 
revision is a prime example of that infamous racist/sexist tech- 
nique of "blaming the victim." I am outraged at having been made 
to appear the author of such. 

The publication of this edited version of my article has, 
I believe, harmed my academic reputation. I am entitled to an 
apology. Moreover, fairness, if not sisterhood, demands that 
I be given the opportunity in your next issue to state my objec- 
tion to the editing. 

I await your reply. 

In Sisterhood, 

NMt £<*/£, Wf°>^ 

udette Ewell Martin 

Associate Professor of English 

CC: June Patton, Ph.D. 



Women In Buddhism - A Symposium 

The effect of the feminist 
movement in the modern world upon the 
recently imported Eastern religions 
has been profoundly felt and will 
continue to have a transformative 
influence. In this conference we 
will examine the effect that modern 
feminist consciousness has on 
Buddhism — the 2500 year old path to 
enlightenment developed by the 
Indian sage Gautama Shakyamuni. 
We will also examine what the 
Buddhist teachings have to say about 
the role of women in society. 



July 1-5, 1982 

Naropa Institute, 1111 Pearl St, 
Boulder, CO 80302 
(303) UUT-9025 
$75.00 for conference, 
Housing $56.00 
(includes 2 meals a day) 

Network/Artwork: The International 
Summer Art Program 

This seven-week intensive 
program will bring together women 
from the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico, 
Central America, and around the 
world. The Summer Art Program will 
include: classes in graphics, video, 
performance, writing and healing 
artmaking, community meetings 
where issues of feminism are addressed, 
and guest lectures by Los Angeles 
women artists and activists . 

Date: July 6-August 21, 1982 
Place: The Woman's Building 
1727 No. Spring St. 
Los Angeles, CA 90012 
(213) 221-6l6l 
COST: Tuition for summer $1+50 

The National Women's Martial Arts 
Federation - Special Training for Women 

Classes in all areas of martial 
arts instruction, including Chinese 
Kung Fu systems, Japanese, Okinawan, 
Korean Karate systems, and Kodokan 
Judo will be held. These courses 
will be conducted by many of the top 
women Black Belts in the U.S. 

Date: June 10-13, 1982 
Place: Provincetown, MASS. 
Cost: $136.00 (includes food & 

For information and registration 
contact: Ms. Banshee, National Coor- 
dinator, Special Training '82 , 
P.O. Box 9^5, Provincetown, MA. 
02657. Phone: (617) H87-9623. 



A celebration of ten 
years : 

Chicago Women 
in Publishing 

In 1971 a group of 
women who worked at 
Scott Foresman were 
having lunch and 
discussing the logic 
of men making more 
money than women 
"because they were 
the primary bread- 
winners, "an idea 
that made sense to 
some of them, but 
was being questioned 
by others . Another 
hot topic was mater- 
nity benefits . Some- 
one brought up sex- 
ism in textbooks . 

At Rand McNally the women who had 
started to raise such questions were 
told that they could not meet on 
company property, so they started 
meeting in each other's homes. 

Some of the original founding mem- 
bers were on hand at the American 
Library Association building on 
East Huron Street last Friday to 
reminisce and to assess how far they 
had come since the founding of CWP. 
Anne Ladky, now of Women Employed, 
said that women in publishing have 
traveled light years in this decade. 
The guidelines for non-sexist lan- 
guage which they developed have 
become the official policy of Scott 
Foresman. "Thank God," said Ladky, 
"that we didn't know how hard it 
was ! Founding was easier than 
sustaining." In the process of 
building this successful organiza- 
tion, independent and solvent, 
there was always a tension be- 
tween the movement toward feminist 

issues (such as building public 
support for ERA) and professional 
development (establishing a network 
and a directory of successful 
free-lancers). But Chicago is 
not supportive of women writers — 
unless you have a best seller. 
The Fair Women, a marvelous book 
about the Women's Building at the 
World's Columbian Exposition of 
1893, got a bigger write-up in the 
Christian Science Monitor and The 
New York Times than it did in any 
Chicago newspaper. As we talked 
and listened, drank champagne and 
met new friends (and subscribers 
to The Creative Woman ) I thought 
what an impressive amount of talent 
was present in that room; remember- 
ed that Harriet Monroe had started 
Poetry magazine here; that two 
feminist bookstores are making it 
in our city — Jane Addams Bookstore 
and Women and Children First . It 
was a roomful of energetic , ambitious , 
attractive women dressed for the 
most part in "executive suite" 
clothes . Full of ideas , articulate- 
ly expressed, and ready for contro- 
versy. Evelyn Swanson, president 
of Chicago Women in Publishing, ended 
her address by quoting Germaine Greer— 
"Energy is the power that drives every 
human being. It is not lost by exer- 
tion, but maintained by it." That, 
I decided, deserves to be shared with 
our readers. The effort itself ener- 
gizes! We have to keep on keeping 
on. "Failure is impossible!" It 
was an evening to lift the spirit, 
and to mark National Women's History 

To join Chicago Women in Publishing, 
send fifteen dollars to P.O. Box 
11837, Chicago, II. 606II. 



"The slow ox-teams" 

Drawing by Harold W. Miles, from "Small Flora Ann." 



Biographical Data for issue on 
Third World Women: 

June 0. Patton, Professor of History- 
Governors State University- 
Park Forest South, Illinois 

Odette Ewell Martin, 

Associate Professor of English 
Loop College 
Chicago , Illinois 

Joanne V. Gat-bin, Associate 

Professor of English and Literature 
Lincoln University, Lincoln, 

Mary Frances Berry, Professor of 
History and Lav, Senior Fellow 
Institute For the Study of 
Educational Policy, Howard University 
Washington, D.C. 


Title of Section I should read: 


Mary Cassatt, detail from mural 
Modern Woman 

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